from the Circuit Court of Madison County, No. 14-L-530; the
Hon. William A. Mudge, Judge, presiding.
A. Elward, of Heyl, Royster, Voelker & Allen, of Peoria,
and Richard K. Hunsaker and Ann C. Barron, of Heyl, Royster,
Voelker & Allen, of Edwardsville, for petitioner
Hillsboro Area Hospital, Inc.
Jansen, of Hinshaw & Culbertson, LLP, of Chicago, and
Terese A. Drew, of Hinshaw & Culbertson, LLP, of St.
Louis, Missouri, for petitioners Illinois Emergency
Physicians, LLP, Laurel Kietzman, Arthur C. Sippo, M.D., MPH,
LLC, and Arthur Sippo.
Dennis, of Freeark, Harvey & Mendillo, P.C., of
Belleville, for petitioners Clinical Radiologists, S.C., and
E. Neville and Derek J. Siegel, of Neville, Richards &
Wuller, LLC, of Belleville, for other petitioners.
Georgiann Oliver and Eric C. Young, of Joley, Oliver &
Beasley, P.C., of Belleville, and Burton M. Greenberg, of St.
Louis, Missouri, for respondents.
JUSTICE CATES delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Presiding Justice Schwarm and Justice Goldenhersh
concurred in the judgment and opinion.
1 The plaintiffs, Danny Foster and Kathleen Foster, brought a
multi-count, medical negligence complaint in the circuit
court of Madison County against the defendants, Hillsboro
Area Hospital, Inc., Laurel Kietzman, M.D., Arthur Sippo,
M.D., Arthur C. Sippo, M.D., MPH, LLC, Brandon Wynn, D.O.,
Clinical Radiologists, S.C., Barbara Mulch, M.D., Springfield
Clinic, LLP, and Illinois Emergency Physicians, LLP. All
defendants, except Dr. Wynn and Clinical Radiologists, S.C.,
moved to transfer the action to Montgomery County under the
doctrine of intrastate forum non conveniens.
Following a hearing, the circuit court denied the motions to
2 The defendants filed a petition for leave to appeal
pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 306(a)(2) (eff. July
1, 2014). Initially, this court denied the petition.
Thereafter, the Illinois Supreme Court issued a supervisory
order directing this court to vacate its order and to
consider the matter on the merits. Pursuant to the
supervisory order, we vacated our previous order and allowed
the defendants' petition. For reasons that follow, we
3 BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
4 The Plaintiffs' Complaint
5 On April 4, 2014, the plaintiffs, Danny Foster and Kathleen
Foster, filed a medical negligence complaint in the circuit
court of Madison County. The following factual allegations
are set forth in the complaint.
6 On June 22, 2012, Danny went to see his primary care
physician, Dr. Barbara Mulch, at the Springfield Clinic in
Hillsboro, Illinois. Danny complained of abdominal pain and
cramping. Dr. Mulch conducted an evaluation and ordered an
abdominal computerized tomography (CT) scan. The CT scan was
performed on June 27, 2012, at the Hillsboro Area Hospital.
Dr. Brandon Wynn, a radiologist employed by Clinical
Radiologists, S.C., interpreted the scan and prepared a
report of his findings. In his report, he did not mention
whether a gastric ulcer was evident on the CT scan.
7 Danny continued to have abdominal symptoms, so he returned
to Hillsboro Area Hospital on June 28, 2012. Danny was seen
by Dr. Laurel Kietzman, the attending physician in the
emergency department. Dr. Kietzman evaluated Danny, but she
did not review his CT scan or order any other diagnostic
tests. After conferring with Dr. Mulch, Dr. Kietzman
discharged Danny. The next day, Danny saw Dr. Mulch at her
office in Hillsboro. Dr. Mulch did not order any additional
tests and did not diagnose Danny's gastric ulcer during
that visit. Throughout the next two weeks, Danny's
abdominal pain "continued and intensified." On July
9, 2012, Danny returned to the emergency department at
Hillsboro Area Hospital. Danny was evaluated by Dr. Arthur
Sippo. Dr. Sippo discharged Danny without conferring with Dr.
Mulch, without reviewing the CT scan, and without ordering
additional diagnostic testing.
8 On July 10, 2012, Danny presented to the emergency
department at St. Francis Hospital in Litchfield, Illinois,
with continuing complaints of abdominal pain. A CT scan of
Danny's abdomen revealed a large, perforated gastric
ulcer. Danny was immediately transferred by helicopter to St.
John's Hospital in Springfield, Illinois. Danny underwent
surgery, and he remained hospitalized at St. John's
Hospital for an extended period of time.
9 The complaint alleges that the defendants failed to
diagnose and properly treat Danny's gastric ulcer and
that Danny suffered permanent injuries and damages as a
direct and proximate result of the various negligent acts or
omissions of the defendants. The complaint also includes a
claim on behalf of Danny's wife, Kathleen, for loss of
10 Forum Non Conveniens Motions
11 On May 12, 2012, Dr. Mulch and Springfield Clinic filed a
motion, with attachments, to transfer the case from Madison
County to Montgomery County based on the doctrine of
forum non conveniens. Ultimately, each of the
defendants, except Dr. Wynn and Clinical Radiologists, S.C.,
either filed a motion to transfer, or joined in the motion
filed by Dr. Mulch and Springfield Clinic. The moving
defendants argued that Montgomery County was a more
convenient forum for the litigation because the events giving
rise to the action occurred in Montgomery County and because
most of the defendants and witnesses resided in or near
Montgomery County. They also argued that the plaintiffs'
choice of forum was entitled to little or no deference
because it was neither the plaintiffs' home forum, nor
the forum where the cause of action arose. Some of the
defendants filed affidavits in support of their respective
motions to transfer. In addition, several defendants filed
answers to forum interrogatories propounded by the
12 The plaintiff filed responses in opposition to the motions
to transfer and attached supporting documents, including
discovery responses from the defendants. The plaintiffs
argued that the moving defendants failed to meet their
respective burdens to show that the plaintiffs' chosen
forum was inconvenient for that defendant and that another
forum would be more convenient for all parties. The
plaintiffs further argued that the defendants failed to show