Hospital wants wrongful death suit transferred from St. Clair Co. to Clinton Co., where allegations arise

By Record News | May 22, 2019

BELLEVILLE – St. Joseph’s Hospital in Breese seeks to transfer a Carlyle woman’s wrongful death suit from St. Clair County circuit court to Clinton County. 

The hospital moved for transfer on May 6, duplicating a motion that other defendants filed before plaintiff Paulette Evans added St. Joseph’s to the suit. 

Those other defendants have waited 16 months for a decision on their motion. 

Tom Keefe of Swansea filed the suit in November 2017, for Evans as administrator of the estate of Darrell Evans. 

The estate seeks damages from Urology Consultants, Dugan Radiology, and physicians Jeffrey Parres and Thomas Doyle. 

Chief Judge Andrew Gleeson assigned current Circuit Judge Christopher Kolker, an associate judge at the time. 

In January 2018, defense counsel Michael Donelson of Fox Galvin in St. Louis moved for transfer to Clinton County as a more convenient forum. 

Donelson moved to substitute for Kolker, exercising a right that any party in an Illinois court can exercise once if the judge hasn’t made a substantial ruling. 

Gleeson then assigned former circuit judge Vincent Lopinot. 

Last December, Keefe amended the complaint to add St. Joseph’s. 

In January, Lopinot retired and Gleeson assigned Circuit Judge Heinz Rudolf. 

Michael Nester of Belleville entered an appearance for St. Joseph’s in February. 

In his transfer motion, he wrote that Doyle resides in Sunset Hills, Mo., and Parres resides in Town and Country, Mo.; Doyle works in Breese and Parres works in Maryville. 

He also wrote that prior to naming St. Joseph’s as a defendant, plaintiff served deposition subpoenas on three hospital employees, all of whom reside in Clinton County. 

“Requiring essentially all of the witnesses in this matter to travel over 30 miles to attend trial, as opposed to permitting the trial to transpire in the county where the incident at issue occurred, plaintiff resides, and most of the hospital witnesses reside and work, is undoubtedly inconvenient,” Nester wrote. 

“Transferring this matter to Clinton County would remove the unfair burden and expense on St. Clair County residents associated with imposing jury duty on said residents in a case with no connection to St. Clair County. 

“Residents of Clinton County have a compelling interest in deciding a controversy involving care rendered at the only hospital in the county. 

“Conversely, residents of St. Clair County are unlikely to seek medical care in Clinton County and have no interest in this controversy.” 

Rudolf has set a status conference June 17.

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