Madison County jury returns defense verdict in med mal trial

By Ann Knef | Jan 13, 2009

After deliberating an hour and a half, a Madison County jury found in favor of Illinois Southwest Orthopedics over a body builder's complaint of negligence related to a 2003 knee surgery.

The verdict was reached last Friday by a jury of eight women and four men in Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian's court.

Kevin Kahrig, 34, of Edwardsville, originally filed suit in 2004 against Illinois Southwest Orthopedics and its surgeon, Dr. Timothy Penn, claiming left knee surgery performed in March 2003 was not necessary. He also claimed Penn failed to obtain his informed consent and alleged a battery was committed.

Before the case went to trial Jan. 5, Kahrig's attorney, Thomas Q. Keefe, Jr. of Belleville, dropped Penn as defendant, as well as the claim of battery.

Defense attorney Chuck Pierce of Belleville said he argued for his client that Kahrig's lateral retinacular release surgery was necessary and performed properly.

"The big issue was while he (Kahrig) was in recovery and rehab and not yet 100 percent, he went to another doctor for a second surgery," Pierce said. "In our opinion that un-did what (Dr.) Penn did."

Pierce said Kahrig, who is a self-employed contractor, claimed he used to be able to do a lot more work independently but now has to hire more sub-contractors. As a result he claimed he lost wages. He also claimed approximately $31,000 in medical bills.

Even though Kahrig walks with a slight limp, Pierce said he is "far from crippled." He appeared before the jury as "very, very, very physically fit."

"He is a body builder," Pierce said. "He likes to work out. But he claimed he can't as much anymore."

Pierce said he felt "very good" about the outcome, but it was no "slam dunk."

"When you have Tom Keefe, he is very formidable, very good," Pierce said. "Anything with his name on it you don't take lightly."

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