Pretzel & Stouffer

Dismissal of Medical Negligence and Tortious Interference Lawsuit Brought by Neurosurgical Resident Against Multi-disciplinary Medical Evaluation Team

Donald J. O’Meara, Jr. obtained dismissal of a multi-count medical negligence lawsuit brought by a plaintiff physician against a Chicago-area internist. The Plaintiff, a neurosurgery resident at an out-of-state medical center, alleged that he underwent an evaluation by a multi-disciplinary medical team comprised of Chicago-area physicians. The medical team had been retained by the Plaintiff’s employer to evaluate the Plaintiff and to prepare a report of the team’s findings. The Plaintiff asserted that the members of the medical team negligently evaluated him and issued a “false and misleading” report which ultimately caused his employer to terminate his medical residency. The Plaintiff sued the members of the medical evaluation team and also sued the medical center which hosted the evaluation. The complaint alleged medical negligence as well as tortious interference with contract and tortious interference with prospective economic advantage. Don filed a motion to dismiss on behalf of the client asserting that a third party medical evaluation does not establish a physician-patient relationship and consequently cannot support a claim for medical negligence. Following oral argument, the Circuit Court issued a lengthy written opinion finding that the Plaintiff had not adequately established the existence of a physician-patient relationship with his medical evaluators and, therefore, the defendant-evaluators did not owe the Plaintiff a medical duty of care. The Circuit Court therefore dismissed the Plaintiff’s case with prejudice as to all defendants. The Plaintiff filed an appeal, and the appeal was ultimately dismissed by the Illinois Appellate Court.

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