Steve Steinback and Christopher Reeder Secure Not Guilty Verdict for Healthcare Client

Partners Steve Steinback and Christopher Reeder secured a not guilty verdict for their healthcare client in a recent trial held in DuPage County.

On November 22, 2014, the plaintiff threatened to kill her father and was transported to a hospital for psychiatric evaluation. The emergency room physician executed the certificate for an involuntary psychiatric admission after her father signed the petition.

The plaintiff was transferred to the defendant hospital. Her transfer was accepted by the attending psychiatrist. On November 24, the plaintiff signed a request for voluntary admission and was subsequently discharged on November 28.

The plaintiff claimed her involuntary commitment to a psychiatric hold constituted false imprisonment because she was neither mentally ill or dangerous, and alleged that she should have been discharged following her psychiatric evaluation on November 23. She further stated that, because the attending psychiatrist did not complete a second certificate in support of the involuntary admission, the Illinois Mental Health Code required her discharge. She also claimed that the hospital’s staff made fraudulent statements to persuade her to sign the voluntary form.

The hospital denied these claims and maintained that they complied with the Code, particularly an exclusion for weekends in its requirement for calculating a second certificate. Therefore, the second certificate was not required until Monday, November 24, which was the day the plaintiff signed the voluntary form. The defendant maintained that the hospital staff always made the plaintiff’s rights as an admittee clear and discharged her within the appropriate statutory time frame.

The plaintiff claimed her hospitalization caused her constant and ongoing emotional distress, which rendered her unable to work since the event. She also alleged she should have received outpatient counseling instead of inpatient treatment, which she claimed destroyed her family. However, the defendant established that her parents have financially supported her since her discharge.

As a result of the trial procedures, the jury returned a not guilty verdict in favor of all defendants.

Steve concentrates his practice in healthcare defense, medical malpractice litigation, product liability, construction, due process and Section 1981 and 1983 claims and commercial litigation. As a founding partner of Barker, Castro & Steinback, he has represented hundreds of medical professionals in state court, federal court and the Illinois appellate courts.

Chris focuses his practice on medical malpractice defense, torts and general civil litigation. In addition to his experience representing clients in a variety of contexts in both State and Federal court, Chris serves as a member of the Trial Bar of the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois.