Lopinot sets hearing in case of mentally disabled person's alleged rape

Christina Stueve Jun. 19, 2012, 5:43pm


St. Clair County Associate Circuit Judge Vincent Lopinot on June 13 scheduled a July 18 hearing on St. Elizabeth's Hospital motion to reconsider in a case involving the alleged rape of a patient.

The court entered an order compelling St. Elizabeth's to produce "unredacted visitor logs" over the defendant's objection, according to the May 11 motion to reconsider.

The patient's guardian filed suit against the hospital and an unknown person identified as "Criminal Joe" on July 23, 2010. The guardian claims he brought the mentally disabled person, who became a patient, to St. Elizabeth's in June 2009 for behavior problems.

The complaint alleges St. Elizabeth's placed the man into a room in the psychiatric ward with a rapist and failed to supervise them, the suit states.

The alleged repeated incidents of rape caused John Doe to sustain severe injuries, mental anguish, bodily pain and incur medical costs, according to the complaint.

The guardian alleges negligence, failure to protect and negligent infliction of emotional distress against St. Elizabeth's and negligence against the alleged rapist.

St. Elizabeth's contends that ordering it to produce unredacted visitor logs is "unprecedented"... "since it is the first time that St. Elizabeth's Hospital has been required to provide the identities of non-party individuals who were patients in the hospital's mental health unit," according to the motion.

"St. Elizabeth's Hospital is required, pursuant to Illinois and federal law, to protect the privacy of its patient's health information pursuant to the physician-patient privilege, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

"The purpose of the plaintiff's request for the unredacted logs is to obtain the identity of the patients admitted to St. Elizabeth's Hospital's mental health unit for the purpose of contacting said individuals, clearly violating the privacy protections provided to them pursuant to state and federal statutes, regulations and case law."

St. Elizabeth's Hospital was ordered on March 7 to produce the hospital's visitor's log to the plaintiff. The visitor's log pertains to visitors who sought and received the opportunity to visit patients on the hospital's behavioral health floor.

The hospital investigated the incident, according to spokeswoman Kelly Barbeau, who told the newspaper at the time the complaint was originally filed that the hospital was committed to a safe environment.

The guardian seeks a judgment of more than $200,000, plus costs.

Chris Kolker of Kolker Law Offices in Belleville represents the plaintiffs.

Michael J. Nester and Chi-Yong Throckmartin of Donovan, Rose, Nester & Joley represent the hospital.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-381.

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