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11/09/89 Kenneth Chessick, v. Sherman Hospital

November 9, 1989





546 N.E.2d 1153, 190 Ill. App. 3d 889, 138 Ill. Dec. 98 1989.IL.1774

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County; the Hon. Melvin E. Dunn, Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE WOODWARD delivered the opinion of the court. UNVERZAGT, P.J., and REINHARD, J., concur.


Plaintiff, Kenneth Chessick, a licensed physician and a licensed attorney at law, appeals from a trial court order denying his petition for a preliminary injunction against the defendant, Sherman Hospital Association.

While plaintiff maintains that the facts in this case are largely undisputed, defendant disagrees and has provided its own statement of facts. In addition, defendant has moved to strike plaintiff's statement of facts as being in violation of Supreme Court Rule 341(e)(6) (113 Ill. 2d R. 341(e)(6)), which sets forth that the statement of facts

"shall contain the facts necessary to an understanding of the case, stated accurately and fairly without argument or comment, and with appropriate reference to the pages of the record on appeal." 113 Ill. 2d R. 341(e)(6).

Defendant specifically complains that plaintiff has "mischaracterized" the record in this case in that plaintiff's citations to the record do not support his statements of the facts in this case.

Where this court's ability to review the issues in a given case is hindered by the content of the statement of facts, the statement of facts will be stricken. (See Certified Mechanical Contractors, Inc. v. Wight & Co. (1987), 162 Ill. App. 3d 391, 396.) While we do not disagree with the defendant's criticism of plaintiff's statement of facts, there are sufficient facts set forth to allow us to review the issues raised. Therefore, defendant's motion to strike plaintiff's statement of facts is denied. We turn now to the merits of plaintiff's appeal.

Plaintiff brought suit against the defendant seeking a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction, and a permanent injunction following defendant's issuing of restrictions on plaintiff's general surgery and gastrointestinal endoscopy privileges at Sherman Hospital. The plaintiff sought to enjoin the defendant from enforcing the restrictions on his privileges. After issuing several temporary restraining orders, the trial court conducted a hearing on plaintiff's petition for the issuance of a preliminary injunction. The hearing revealed the following facts.

Since 1984, plaintiff had been an associate staff member at Sherman Hospital. He was reviewed for consideration of advancement to the status of associate attending staff. Under the defendant's bylaws, a physician serves a one-year provisional period as an associate staff member. At the end of the year, the physician's records are reviewed by the medical executive committee, which then recommends promotion, termination, or extending the probationary period. The probationary period can only be extended for a total of two years. Having been an associate staff member for two years, plaintiff was ineligible for further extension.

On February 24, 1987, the surgical medical care evaluation subcommittee recommended plaintiff's advancement with certain restrictions, which included consulting and auditing requirements. Under the bylaws, the physician could then have an interview with the steering committee of his department. Dr. Joseph Michelotti, chairman of the surgical steering committee, invited the plaintiff to an interview to discuss the circumstances prompting the restrictions. Plaintiff, by letter, requested a list of specific, detailed criticisms of the alleged substandard care. Dr. Michelotti responded, also by letter, that the information had been provided. On June 24, 1987, the plaintiff appeared at the surgical steering committee meeting and again requested a written list of specific activities which constituted the grounds for the request for the corrective action. On July 24, 1987, the surgical steering committee met and recommended to the medical executive committee that plaintiff not be advanced to associate attending status, which in effect would result in his termination. The medical executive committee ratified the surgical steering committee's recommendation.

Pursuant to the defendant's bylaws, plaintiff requested a hearing before the ad hoc hearing committee. The committee is comprised of five members of the medical staff who have not "actively participated in the consideration of the adverse recommendation." Also pursuant to the bylaws, notice of the date, time, and place of the scheduled hearings, as well as the charges and the basis for the corrective action, was given to the plaintiff.

The bylaws set forth how the hearing is to be conducted, as well as the rights of the participants. An accurate record of the meeting is required, either by use of a court reporter, electronic recording unit, detailed transcription, or by the taking of adequate minutes. The medical executive committee appoints one of its members or some member of the medical staff, in this case, Dr. Michelotti, to represent it at the hearing to present the facts in support of its adverse recommendation and to examine witnesses. Both parties have the right to call and cross-examine witnesses, to testify, and to introduce written evidence. However, the rules of evidence and examination of witnesses need not be strictly adhered to. Neither side is entitled to legal representation unless the ad hoc committee then permits both sides to be represented by counsel. Specifically, the bylaws provide:

"The Hearing Committee may, without special notice, recess the hearing and reconvene the same for the convenience of the participants or for the purpose of obtaining new or additional evidence or consultation. Upon the Conclusion of the presentation of oral and written evidence the hearing shall be closed. The Hearing Committee may thereupon, at a time convenient to itself, ...

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