An interesting Chicago Daily Law Bulletin article addressed a recent First District Appellate Court affirmation regarding a denied motion to transfer an Illinois medical malpractice lawsuit. Justice Robert E. Gordon explained in the opinion that the interest in deciding controversies locally may not be as strong in a medical malpractice lawsuit as in other litigation because the jury pool in DuPage County may include people familiar with the physicians and hospitals in their small county. As a result, it could be more difficult to find 12 fair and impartial people in DuPage County compared with Cook County.
Additionally, Justice Gordon reasoned that the unfairness of imposing trial expense is really not a consideration when the two county court locations are a mere 32 miles apart. While the burden of jury duty on residents of a forum that has little connection to the litigation is always a consideration, the fact that the jury pool in DuPage County may include people more familiar with the medical providers makes that forum less of a consideration. Justice Gordon further expressed that the court dockets of both counties are similarly congested and the administrative difficulties of adding the case to either docket could have little or no effect. The distance between the two courthouses – 32 miles – was discussed explaining why the convenience of the parties should not be significant.
In affirming the denial of the defendant’s request to transfer the Illinois medical malpractice case, the First District Appellate Court highlighted Illinois Supreme Court jurisprudence. Justice Gordon also noted that the Illinois Supreme Court has held that the plaintiff has a substantial interest in choosing the forum where his rights will be vindicated and the plaintiff’s forum choice should rarely be disturbed unless the other factors strongly favor transfer.
Read more about the Appellate Court opinion at Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.