Baby doc sues another for $4.6 million

By Steve Gonzalez | Oct 26, 2004

A well-known area obstetrician is seeking $4.6 million in damages by suing another physician and his assistant for defaming her reputation. Tina Gingrich, M.D. filed suit against James J. Dalla Riva, M.D. and Stephanie Sudholt Oct. 20 in Madison County Circuit Court.

Gingrich alleges that on Nov. 3, 1997, Sudholt entered a waiting room at Anderson Hospital in Maryville and loudly shouted, “Dr. Gingrich is a thief and is going to have her medical license taken away.”

In the complaint, Gingrich states that as a direct and proximate result of Sudholt having made the defamatory accusation, she has experienced impairment of her reputation and standing in the community, personal humiliation and mental anguish and suffering.

The 12-count suit seeks punitive damages on four counts of $1 million each and $50,000 on each of the 12 counts.

Gingrich, who practices obstetrics and gynecology at Maryville Women's Center, is represented by John Long of Alton and George Marifian of Belleville.

Gingrich also lists her corporation, Tina M.F. Gingrich M.D. P.C. as a plaintiff in the case, as well as Riva’s corporation, Dr. James J. Dalla Riva M.D. P.C. as a defendant.

Dalla Riva is tied to the case because Gingrich claims that when Sudholt allegedly made the accusation, she was employed by Dalla Riva, acting within the scope of her employment as his office manager.

Chief Judge Edward Ferguson has assigned the case to Circuit Judge George Moran.

Gingrich and Dalla Riva have a long history together in court. In August 1997, Dalla Riva filed a petition for discovery (97MR385) against Gingrich, which Circuit Judge Ann Callis eventually denied.

Also there is an open case (98LM1150) in which Dr Dalla Riva sued Gingrich for breach of contract in September 1998. Sudholt is listed as a third party in the case pending before Circuit Judge Phillip Kardis.

Gingrich has been sued three times. A negligence suit filed by Tamara Wagoner in 1998 (98 L 780) resulted in a $75,000 jury verdict against Gingrich.

Plaintiffs Judy Thiel and Wendy Wiggins have pending negligence suits against Gingrich. Wiggins alleges Gingrich failed to diagnose her breast cancer.

Dalla Riva has been sued five times in Madison County. Four negligence cases remain open and one negligence case has been dismissed.

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