Doctors endorse Wexstten for appellate court judge

By Ann Knef | Jan 28, 2008

Wexstten is backed by southern Illinois doctors.

A coalition of southern Illinois doctors rallied behind Appellate Judge James Wexstten at a press conference in Maryville Saturday.

In their endorsement, doctors praised Wexstten and denounced the credentials of Wexstten's opponent, Swansea personal injury attorney Judy Cates.

"Judge Jim Wexstten is by far the most qualified candidate and has the experience, temperament and integrity to serve on the Fifth District Appellate Court," stated Litchfield Dr. Phil Johnson, president of the Montgomery County Medical Society.

"His opponent Judy Cates is the immediate past president of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association and has spent time lobbying directly against the medical malpractice reforms passed by Springfield lawmakers."

Wexstten served 18 years as a circuit judge in Mt. Vernon prior to being appointed in January 2007 to the vacancy left upon the death of Appellate Justice Terrence Hopkins.

"An overwhelming majority of doctors in southern Illinois are for Wexstten," said Edward Ragsdale, M.D. of Alton. "His opponent is a personal injury attorney who has brought suit against doctors and hospitals. She is not known for any demonstrated fairness and ability to see both sides in court issues."

Ragsdale is president of the Madison County Medical Society.

Cates represents plaintiffs pursuing cases involving medical negligence, nursing home litigation, product liability, class actions and other litigation specialties.

"Can she separate herself from a career of filing class action lawsuits, medical malpractice claims, and lobbying against healthcare in Springfield," Marion Dr. Michael Delaney stated.

Another southern Illinois doctor said judicial impartiality is a key factor to promoting stable healthcare.

"Doctors simply want a fair, stable, and impartial civil justice system in Southern Illinois," said Dr. Jagan Ailinani of

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