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09/15/94 NANCY J. WORKMAN v. ST. THERESE MEDICAL

September 15, 1994

NANCY J. WORKMAN, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
ST. THERESE MEDICAL CENTER AND ST. THERESE RADIOLOGY, DEFENDANTS (L.P. MAUN, GOPAL N. BHALALA, DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES; NORTH POINT MEDICAL/DENTAL CENTER, DEFENDANT).



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County. No. 92-L-705. Honorable Stephen E. Walter, Judge, Presiding.

Released for Publication October 18, 1994.

Geiger, Bowman, Doyle

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Geiger

JUSTICE GEIGER delivered the opinion of the court:

The plaintiff, Nancy J. Workman, appeals from the trial court's dismissal with prejudice of her medical malpractice complaint and from the trial court's denial of her motion to reconsider the judgments of dismissal. On appeal, the plaintiff argues (1) that the trial court improperly dismissed her complaint with prejudice pursuant to section 2-619 of the Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/2-619 (West 1992)); and (2) that if the trial court dismissed her complaint with prejudice pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 219(c) (134 Ill. 2d R. 219(c)) for her failure to comply with written discovery and with the trial court's orders, the trial court abused its discretion. We affirm.

On June 2, 1992, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice complaint against the defendants, St. Therese Medical Center, St. Therese Radiology, L. P. Maun, M.D., Gopal N. Bhalala, M.D., and North Point Medical/Dental Center.

On August 18, 1992, defendant Bhalala served interrogatories on the plaintiff and filed them with the court. On September 22, 1992, defendant Maun served interrogatories on the plaintiff and filed them with the court.

On October 7, 1992, the trial court held a status call. Theplaintiff's attorney failed to appear for the status call. He had failed to appear at several hearings prior to the October 7 status call. The case was dismissed for want of prosecution.

On November 4, 1992, the plaintiff filed a motion to vacate the October 7, 1992, dismissal order. On November 24, 1992, defendant Bhalala filed a motion in opposition to the plaintiff's motion to vacate and for costs. One basis for defendant Bhalala's motion was the plaintiff's attorney's lack of diligence with respect to the prosecution of the case. On November 24, 1992, the trial court granted the plaintiff's motion to vacate the dismissal order and reinstated the plaintiff's case. Also on that date, the trial court ordered the plaintiff to answer defendant Bhalala's interrogatories within 10 days and granted defendant Bhalala's motion for fees and costs and ordered the plaintiff and her attorney to pay costs in the amount of $1,350 within 30 days.

On December 7, 1992, defendant Bhalala filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff's complaint for her failure to answer interrogatories in violation of the November 24, 1992, court order. On December 14, 1992, defendant Bhalala also filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to sections 2-622 and 2-619 of the Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 2-622, 619 (West 1992)) for the plaintiff's failure to supply a separate written report as to each defendant.

On December 17, 1992, the trial court granted defendant Maun's motion to compel and ordered the plaintiff to respond to all outstanding discovery within 14 days. The trial court awarded sanctions against the plaintiff and in favor of defendant Maun in the amount of $431.30.

Also on December 17, 1992, the court ordered the plaintiff to answer defendant Bhalala's outstanding interrogatories within seven days and awarded additional costs in the amount of $450 to defendant Bhalala for the plaintiff's failure to comply with the November 24, 1992, court order.

The plaintiff did not file answers to interrogatories within the periods required by the orders of November 24, 1992, and December 17, 1992. On January 21, 1993, defendants Bhalala and Maun filed motions to dismiss pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 219(c) (134 Ill. 2d R. 219(c)) for the plaintiff's failure to answer outstanding interrogatories. On January 21, 1993, the plaintiff filed answers to interrogatories which were vague, incomplete, and unsworn. On February 9, 1993, the plaintiff's answers were stricken. Also on that date, the trial court granted defendant Bhalala's motion to dismiss pursuant to section 2-622 of the Code of Civil Procedure and allowed the plaintiff 14 days in which to file amended section 2-622 affidavits. The trial court also ordered the plaintiff to answer all outstanding interrogatories by February 26, 1993.

The plaintiff failed to file amended section 2-622 affidavits or answers to interrogatories within the periods required by the February 9, 1993, court order. On March 2, 1993, the trial court granted defendant Maun's and defendant Bhalala's motions to dismiss with prejudice, based on the plaintiff's failure to answer written discovery, her failure to comply with previous discovery orders, and her failure to comply with the requirements of section 2-622 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The March 2, 1993, order contained a Supreme Court Rule 304(a) (Official Reports Advance Sheet No. 26 (December 22, 1993), R. 304(a), eff. February 1, 1994) finding of enforceability and appealability with respect to the judgments entered in favor of defendants Maun and Bhalala. The Rule 304(a) finding was necessary to make these judgments immediately appealable because defendant Maun's motion for sanctions under Supreme ...


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