The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Spomer
The text of this decision may be changed or corrected prior to the filing of a Petition for Rehearing or the disposition of the same.
IN THE APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS FIFTH DISTRICT
Appeal from the
Circuit Court of ) Madison County.
A. A. Matoesian,
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Madison County. No. 10-L-863 Honorable A. A. Matoesian, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE SPOMER delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Welch and Chapman concurred in the judgment and opinion.
¶ 1 In these appeals, which this court, on its own motion, consolidated for purposes of argument and decision, the defendants, St. John's Hospital, Thomas H. Boyd Memorial Hospital, Michael McNear, M.D., V. Sabodash, M.D., Dean Bishop, D.O., K. Harirama Acharya, M.D., David Peterson, M.D., Jae Yang, M.D., Joan Lewis, A.P.N., Rodger Elble, M.D., Monisha Dutta, M.D., Mary Jones, M.D., Illini Medical Associates, P.C., John Woodward, CRNA, Carmel F. Bonnaig, M.D., William Sturm, PA-C, SIU Physicians and Surgeons, Inc., Jonathon Annis, M.D., Deborah O'Brien, M.D., and Passavant Memorial Area Hospital, appeal the February 4, 2011, order of the circuit court of Madison County that denied their motion to transfer the causes of action of the plaintiff, Cindy M. Shaw, to Jersey County for improper venue pursuant to section 2-104 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure (the Code) (735 ILCS 5/2-104 (West 2010)) or, in the alternative, for forum non conveniens pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 187 (eff. Aug. 1, 1986). The third-party defendant, Jersey Community Hospital District, appeals the March 4, 2011, order that denied its motion to sever the third-party claims against it and transfer them to Jersey County pursuant to section 2-103(a) of the Code (735 ILCS 5/2-103(a) (West 2010)). For the following reasons, we affirm the February 4, 2011, order, reverse the March 4, 2011, order, and remand with directions that the circuit court sever the third-party claims against Jersey Community Hospital and transfer them to Jersey County.
¶ 2 We note that there were three motions to quash notices of deposition and new written discovery filed in this court which were not ruled upon prior to the issuance of this opinion. These include the August 2, 2012, motion filed on behalf of Illini Medical Associates, the August 10, 2012, motion filed on behalf of Mary Jones, M.D., and Joan Lewis, and the September 10, 2012, motion filed on behalf of SIU Physicians and Surgeons, Inc. Because the stay will be lifted upon the issuance of this opinion, we hereby deny all three motions as moot.
¶ 4 The plaintiff filed a complaint in St. Clair County on March 19, 2010, which, after several amendments, culminated in a statement of causes of action for medical malpractice against all of the first-party defendants listed above for their alleged roles in failing to diagnose and treat the plaintiff for pseudotumor cerebri, a condition deriving from intracranial pressure which the plaintiff alleges ultimately caused her to become blind.*fn1 On
July 22, 2010, the circuit court of St. Clair County transferred the case to Madison County at the plaintiff's request after the defendants filed a motion to transfer to Jersey County for forum non conveniens pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 187 (eff. Aug. 1, 1986). In September and October of 2010, the various defendants again filed motions to transfer the case from Madison County to Jersey County for forum non conveniens pursuant to Rule 187.
¶ 5 In support of their motion to transfer for forum non conveniens, the defendants provided the court with the plaintiff's medical records showing the locations where she was treated throughout the period she claims she was misdiagnosed by the defendants. Passavant Memorial Area Hospital is located in Morgan County. St. John's Hospital and SIU Physicians and Surgeons are located in Sangamon County. Thomas H. Boyd Memorial Hospital is located in Greene County. Illini Medical Associates and Jersey Community Hospital are located in Jersey County. Illini Medical Associates also has two offices in Madison County. The individual doctors who allegedly misdiagnosed the plaintiff are located throughout those counties as well. Other healthcare providers who treated the plaintiff after she became blind are located in St. Louis, Missouri, and Cook County, where the plaintiff attended the Chicago School for the Blind.
¶ 6 In further support of their motion to transfer for forum non conveniens, the defendants presented the court with the plaintiff's answers to interrogatories, wherein the plaintiff stated that she has resided in Madison County since February 4, 2010. Prior to that, she resided in Greene County and worked in Jersey County. The plaintiff also produced records showing that since she became blind, she became pregnant and was treated at Saint Anthony's Health Center, which is located in Madison County. Finally, the defendants presented the court with the civil caseload statistics for 2008, which showed that Madison County had 1,540 chancery cases filed, as opposed to Jersey County, which had 91.
¶ 7 In opposition to the motions to transfer for forum non conveniens, the plaintiff's attorney filed two affidavits. In the first affidavit, the plaintiff's attorney attested that the plaintiff is a resident of Madison County who has a strong interest in prosecuting this case in her home county for a variety of reasons, including the expense to her in litigating the case in a different county and the expense and hardship of caring for her baby during trial. The baby's father also lives and works in Madison County. The plaintiff's counsel further attested that several Madison County medical providers have rendered care and treatment to the plaintiff since she became blind, including her primary care physician, who would be a critical damages witness in the case. In addition, the plaintiff's counsel attested that other important medical evidence is located in St. Louis, Missouri, including the plaintiff's last treating ophthalmologist. According to the first affidavit of the plaintiff's counsel, a trial in Jersey County would be ...