Wrongful death trial involving Rosewood Care Center continued

By Ann Maher | Jun 6, 2012


Jurors were picked and voir dire was completed, but a Madison County wrongful death trial involving Rosewood Care Center was continued Tuesday at the request of both parties, according to presiding Circuit Judge Dave Hylla.

Courthouse personnel told a reporter the case ended in mistrial, but Hylla said that remained a question because jurors had not yet been sworn in.

He said that in the coming weeks he would talk with the parties about when the case can be reset for trial.

The case has been litigated for five years. Plaintiff Diana Obernuefemann sued the Edwardsville nursing home in 2007, claiming it was negligent for allegedly placing a Duragesic narcotic patch on resident Kathleen F. Adams before removing another one that was in place as a result of a hospital stay.

Obernuefemann, administrator of Adams' estate, claims Adams suffered an overdose and aspiration pneumonia. She died on June 7, 2006.

The suit alleges violations of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act. It claims that the defendant's alleged negligence was a proximate cause of Adams' death and damages.

Obernuefemann is represented by attorney Robert Gregory.

Attorney Dennis McCubbin represents Rosewood Care Center.

The two litigated two cases involving Rosewood claims in a year's time in 2009, with one verdict going to McCubbin and the other to Gregory.

According to a joint statement of the Adams' case filed June 4, Rosewood admits it was negligent in applying a second Duragesic patch prematurely and without removing the previous patch, and thereby violated the Illinois Nursing Home Act. But, it denies it caused Adams' death and denies that Adams was injured or damaged to the extent claimed by Obernuefemann.

On May 30, Gregory filed a memorandum in support of excluding all evidence of Adams' use or abuse of alcohol.

"It should be noted that neither plaintiff's controlled opinion witness, Dr. James Vest, nor defendant's controlled opinion witness, Dr. Henry Simmons, attach any importance whatsoever to Kathleen Adams' use or abuse of alcohol," Gregory wrote.

"It is apparent that courts clearly recognize the inflammatory effect upon juries of introducing evidence of alcohol consumption except in the very limited circumstances where actual intoxication can be shown, or where use or possible abuse of alcohol relates directly to plaintiff's damages."

The plaintiff's witness list included the names of 33 individuals, although three of the names were crossed off the roster.

The defense witness included the names of five medical professionals, as well as Obernuefemann.

The case is Madison case number 07-L-239.

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