Plaintiff's attorney wants Madison County judge to prohibit media contact in med mal case

Christina Stueve Apr. 16, 2012, 12:44pm


The plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit against an Alton doctor is requesting Madison County Circuit Judge Andreas Matoesian order both parties in the case not to contact or cooperate with the media or "act in a manner to instigate media coverage."

The case involves Tamara Kay Greco, a 36-year-old mother of three, who died a week after visiting Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Clinic on April 30, 2004. She came to the clinic after twisting her left ankle and foot, her suit states.

Attorneys Burton Newman and David W. Horan wrote in a motion to prohibit media contact on April 11 that stories about the lawsuit have been appearing in local print and internet media.

"Said stories have been written in a manner that is favorable to the defendants and negative to the plaintiffs," they wrote.

"The published stories risk polluting the potential jury pool in Madison County and prevent the plaintiffs from obtaining a fair trial of this matter. The merits of this case should be determined as prescribed by law-by a jury-unsullied by biased (and orchestrated) media reports."

"This lawsuit involves no issues of enhanced public concern," they wrote.

"To protect the plaintiff's right to a fair trial, it is necessary for a Court order to prohibit the parties, their counsel and representatives from contacting or cooperating with the media or otherwise instigating media coverage with respect to this litigation," the motion said.

The plaintiffs also requested a judge's order compelling the supplemental deposition of defendant Dr. Bruce Vest on April 11.

According to the suit, Greco was diagnosed with a sprained left ankle and received an equalizer brace and was told to let Dr. Bruce Vest know if she had more difficulties. At the time of her discharge on April 30, 2004, she was given no anticoagulant therapy, the suit says.

On May 5, 2004, Greco returned to the clinic with pain in her left ankle and foot, and pain and burning with numbness to her toes.
She was examined by Vest and diagnosed as having a "severe" sprain of her left foot and ankle, the suit says.

She was given samples of Bextra and a refill of Vicodin. No evaluation of her vascular status or anticoagulant therapy was provided, the suit claims.

On May 7, 2004, Tamara Greco suffered bilateral pulmonary thromboemboli from immobility of her left foot, according to her death certificate.

"Since Dr. Vests's deposition was taken, the lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed and has been re-filed," the attorneys wrote in their April 11 motion to compel.

"More than four years have passed since Dr. Vest's deposition was taken. Plaintiffs seek to take a supplementary deposition of Dr. Vest to interrogate him about evidence and matters not available at the time of his initial deposition in 2008. The plaintiffs do not seek to re-examine Dr. Vest about matters that had already been put to him in the initial deposition.

"Plaintiffs have attempted to obtain Dr. Vest's supplemental discovery deposition voluntarily. Although, the parties have attempted in good faith to resolve this discovery dispute informally, the parties are unable to reach an agreement on this issue as defendants have failed and refused to produce Dr. Vest for a deposition."

Allowing the supplemental discovery deposition of Dr. Vest would serve justice by eliminating surprise at trial and the prejudice it would have on the plaintiff's lawsuit, the lawyers also wrote.

Plaintiff's witness, Dr. Steven Berkowitz of Ocean, N.J., wrote in a certificate that he thought Orthopedic & Sports Medicine deviated from the standard of medical care provided to Greco.

Plaintiff James Greco, the administrator of Greco's estate, claims he suffered funeral expenses, loss of services, companionship, guidance, and support of Greco.

Vest countered that the damages and injury sustained by Greco were her own fault.

Matoesian also ordered discovery to be completed by Sept. 25.

Philip Willman of Moser & Marsalek represents Vest and Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Clinic.

Madison County Case number 11-L-140.

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