Madison - St. Clair Record

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Meridian Ob/Gyn denies liability in suit alleging infant suffered brain injury from lack of oxygen

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Aug 25, 2015


An Ob/Gyn office denies liability in a mother’s lawsuit claiming her son suffered from a brain injury after he was allegedly deprived of adequate amounts of oxygen.

Lauren K. Reed filed her lawsuit on June 5 against Southwestern Illinois Health Facilities, doing business as Anderson Hospital, Granite City Clinic Corporation, doing business as Meridian Ob/Gyn Associates, Dr. Kevin Scharff and Dr. Dennis Hurford.

According to the complaint, Reed alleges doctors at Anderson Hospital and Meridian failed to timely intubate one of her twin sons, Griffin Allen Reed, causing him to be deprived of sufficient oxygen. As a result, she claims the boy suffered a hypoxic brain injury, which allegedly caused him to suffer multiple injuries.

Reed claims her son lost his enjoyment of a normal life, suffered disfigurement, disability, pain and impaired earning capacity. She also claims he suffers from an inability to become adequately educated.

Reed accuses the doctors of negligence for failing to refer her to a perinatologist during her pregnancy, failing to take her off Zoloft, failing to ensure her evaluation by a perinatologist and failing to ensure the timely availability of an individual to intubate her son, the suit states.

She seeks a judgment of more than $500,000, plus costs.

Meridian answered the complaint on July 11, denying the allegations against it.

Meridian, Hurford and Scharff filed a motion to strike the plaintiff’s jury demand on April 29 through attorney Thomas J. Hayek of Behr, McCarter & Potter in St. Louis.

The defendants claim they are entitled to a trial by jury of 12 because anything less than that violates the Illinois Constitution.

The plaintiffs’ March 11 motion to strike the defendants’ request for a 12-person jury relies on former Gov. Pat Quinn’s Public Act 98-1132, signed into law on Dec. 19. The Act states that all jury cases will be tried by a jury of six unless the party has made an appropriate demand and paid for a jury of 12 before the June 1, 2015, deadline.

Represented by Joseph A. Bartholomew of Cook Ysursa Bartholomew Brauer & Shevlin in Belleville, the plaintiff argues that because the trial will take place after June 1, the case is subject to the amended jury demand statute.

Reed also argues that only the party that paid for the jury demand will be allowed a jury of 12. Because Meridian, Scharff and Hurford did not pay for the jury demand, they are not entitled to a jury of 12, the motion states.

The defendants in this case argue that they filed their demand and paid for a jury of 12 in July 2014.

Additionally, the defendants argue that the Act itself violates the Illinois Constitution, which states, “The right of trial by jury as heretofore enjoyed shall remain inviolate.”

They add that during the 1970 Constitutional Convention for the Illinois Constitution, participants debated and voted against providing the state legislature with the authority to alter the number of jurors in a civil action.

"The delegates extensively considered and debated whether to grant the Illinois Legislature the power to decrease civil jury size.

"Despite extensive debate, involving a proposed amendment which would have provided the Legislature with such authority, the framers of the 1970 Illinois Constitution ultimately voted to strike down any such amendment," the defendants' motion states.

Circuit Judge Andreas Matoesian set the motions for a hearing, but has yet to schedule a specific date.

He also continued a case management conference to be held sometime in September.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 14-L-823

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Organizations in this Story

Cook, Ysursa, Bartholomew, Brauer & ShevlinAnderson Hospital