Doctor requests woman to produce information in case against him

Christina Stueve Jan. 25, 2012, 6:48am



Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth reset a hearing on a motion to compel in a woman's case against her employer, a co-worker and a doctor after she was allegedly forced to undress in front of her co-worker while being examined at a doctor's office for a work-related injury.

The hearing on the defense motion for production of answers to interrogatories has been rescheduled for 9 a.m. on Feb. 3.

BreeAnn Hedger, an oiler for defendant Alberici, alleges that on July 23, 2009, at defendant Ameren's plant in Coffeen, she fell on wooden mats.

After the incident, Hedger claims Alberici told her to get a medical exam and treatment at defendant Midwest Occupational Medicine in Wood River.

Chuck Smick, a safety officer for Alberici, accompanied Hedger to the doctor at Alberici's orders, Hedger claims. Once Hedger and Smick arrived at the doctor's office, Smick went with Hedger into a room where defendant Dr. Brian Ruiz examined Hedger, the complaint says.

"That while in the presence of Brian Ruiz and Chuck Smick, Plaintiff was ordered to disrobe in their presence, over Plaintiff's protest," the suit states. "That Brian Ruiz made no attempt to insure (sic) the privacy of the Plaintiff and made no attempt to exclude Chuck Smick from witnessing Plaintiff disrobe."

Throughout the exam and while Hedger undressed, Smick watched her, the complaint says.

Dr. Ruiz's defense attorney, Timothy Gutknecht, has asked the court to enter an order directing Hedger to comply with production requests within 14 days of an order. It also asks to assess costs against Hedger "for her unreasonable refusal to answer certain questions and produce certain items despite a previous conference," the motion says.

In support of the motion, on Aug. 27, 2011, interrogatories and a request to produce were directed to Hedger. She faxed some responses but did not answer all the questions, according to Gutknecht.

"To date, plaintiff has unreasonably refused to answer or respond to the interrogatories and requests for production identified herein," the motion reads.

In her complaint, Hedger claims she suffered pain, disfigurement, disability and lost wages. She also claims her earning capacity was impaired, and she incurred medical costs.

Hedger alleges negligence against Ameren, saying she previously complained about gaps between the wooden floor mats that caused her to fall, but the company did nothing.

The remaining defendants -- Alberici, Smick, Ruiz, Midwest Occupational Medicine and Midwest President George Dirkers -- allegedly invaded Hedger's privacy, inflicted emotional distress, participated in a visual sexual assault and interfered with her right to confidentiality with her doctor.

Hedger seeks more than $50,000.

John P. Kujawski of Kujawski and Associates in O'Fallon represents her.

Gordon Broom and Matthew Champlin represent Ameren.

Russell Scott represents Alberici Constructors and Chuck Smick.

Lee Barron represents George Dirkers and Midwest Occupational Medicine.

Christopher Bortz represents George Dirkers and Midwest Occupational Medicine.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-764.

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