FRANCES B. SIEGEL, Admr., etc., et al. Plaintiffs
UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI COLLEGE OF MEDICINE Defendant
to S.C. Reporter 6/28/19
True Shaver Magistrate
PATRICK M. MCGRATH JUDGE.
On December 16, 2009, plantiffs, Daniel and Frances Siegel,
filed a complaint asserting claims of medical malpractice,
wrongful death, and fraud regarding the medical care and
treatment that was provided to their daughter, Jessica
Siegel, who died at the age of 16 on August 23, 2006.
Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on January 19, 2010,
and a second amended complaint on May 28, 2010.
On October 6, 2010, the court issued a stay of proceedings in
this matter because of the connected action that was pending
in the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas. On May 15,
2013, a magistrate of the court conducted an evidentiary
hearing to determine whether Andrew Joel Ringer, M.D., was
entitled to civil immunity pursuant to R.C. 2743.02(F) and
9.86. On November 5, 2013, the magistrate issued a decision
finding that Dr. Ringer did not act with malicious purpose,
in bad faith, or in a wanton or reckless manner during his
treatment and care of Jessica and recommended that Dr. Ringer
be entitled to immunity. Objections were filed, and the court
overruled them and adopted the magistrate's decision and
recommendation as its own. The Tenth District Court of
Appeals affirmed the court's decision and denied
plaintiffs' application for reconsideration in 2015. The
Supreme Court of Ohio declined to accept jurisdiction of the
appeal and denied a motion for reconsideration in 2016.
Defendant's motion to amend its answer was granted in
2016, and defendant's amended answer was filed on
December 12, 2016. In July 2018, the court vacated the stay
On October 4, 2018, defendant filed a motion for summary
judgment pursuant to Civ.R. 56(B). On October 17, 2018,
plaintiff filed a response in opposition. With leave of
court, on November 30, 2018, defendant filed a reply. The
motion for summary judgment is now before the court for a
non-oral hearing pursuant to L.C.C.R. 4(D).
Civ.R. 56(C) states, in part, as follows:
"Summary judgment shall be rendered forthwith if the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, written
admissions, affidavits, transcripts of evidence, and written
stipulations of fact, if any, timely filed in the action,
show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact
and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law. No evidence or stipulation may be considered except
as stated in this rule. A summary judgment shall not be
rendered unless it appears from the evidence or stipulation,
and only from the evidence or stipulation, that reasonable
minds can come to but one conclusion and that conclusion is
adverse to the party against whom the motion for summary
judgment is made, that party being entitled to have the
evidence or stipulation construed most strongly in the
party's favor." See also Gilbert v. Summit
Cty., 104 Ohio St.3d 660, 661, 2004-Ohio-7108, citing
Temple v. Wean United, Inc., 50 Ohio St.2d 317, 327
On August 14, 2006, Jessica Siegel was admitted to Good
Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio, and came under the
care of her attending physician, Andrew Joel Ringer, M.D.
(Second Amended Complaint, ¶ 4.) On August 14, 2006, Dr.
Ringer performed an embolization procedure upon the vessels
in Jessica's head. (Id., ¶ 16.) After the
procedure, Jessica experienced complications which led to her
being hospitalized longer than expected. (Id.,
¶ 17.) Jessica then underwent several other operations
and procedures involving her brain and breathing ability.
(Id., ¶ 18.) On August 23, 2006, Jessica's
heart rate suddenly dropped, a "code blue" was
called, and she was pronounced dead at 7:09 p.m.
(Id., ¶ 19, 20.)
On the evening of Jessica's death, plaintiff, Daniel
Siegel, signed an Autopsy Consent Form, with no restrictions
or limitations upon the autopsy. (Id., ¶ 29.)
Plaintiffs then left the hospital. (Id., ¶ 30.)
On August 24, 2006, Daniel Beckman, M.D., a pathologist at
Good Samaritan Hospital, performed an autopsy on Jessica
Siegel. (Id., ¶ 38.) Plaintiffs requested a
copy of the autopsy report. The autopsy report was completed
on December 8, 2006. (Plaintiffs' Exhibit 16; Exhibit 2
to Beckman's deposition.) Plaintiffs were provided with a
copy of the autopsy report approximately three to four months
after Jessica's death. (Transcript, p. 115.) Daniel
Siegel did not read the autopsy report when he first received
it because he was distraught about Jessica's death.
(Transcript, p. 137-138.) Eventually, Daniel and Frances
Siegel both read the autopsy report by December 2007 or
January 2008. (Transcript, p. 155.) Among other findings, the
autopsy report states: "Reason for Autopsy:
Requested by Physician. Autopsy Restrictions: None.
NO HEAD." (Exhibit 2 to Beckman's deposition, p. 1.)
In the Clinical Summary, it states: "Autopsy permission
was given by parents and a request for muscle tissue for
evaluation of malignant hyperthermia was made. There was no
permission for removal of the brain." (Id., p.
2.) In the Gross Description portion, it states: "The
eyes have been removed for transplantation."
On January 17, 2008, Daniel Siegel met with Dr. Ringer to
discuss "the cause of [Jessica's] death."
(Second amended complaint, ¶ 41-42.) Mary Gulleman,
Daniel's sister-in-law, went with Daniel to talk to Dr.
Ringer. (Transcript, p. 161.) During the meeting, Daniel and
Mary asked Dr. Ringer why the autopsy did not include
Jessica's brain, and why Jessica's eyes had been
harvested. (Id., p. 161-162.) According to Daniel,
during the meeting, Dr. Ringer told him that he did not know
why the brain was not included in the autopsy and did not
know that her eyes had been taken. (Transcript, p. 118.)
Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the Cincinnati Eye Bank in
another court. (Second Amended Complaint, ¶ 52.) On
December 17, 2008, plaintiffs took the deposition of Amie
Smith, R.N., a nurse who had cared for Jessica during her
hospital stay, and who had filled out the autopsy form
pursuant to Dr. Ringer's instructions. (Plaintiffs
Exhibit 15, deposition of Amie Smith, p. 45.) Plaintiffs
allege that on the date of Smith's deposition, they first
discovered that Dr. Ringer had instructed Smith to limit the
autopsy to exclude Jessica's head and brain. (Second
amended complaint ¶ 54, 55, Smith's deposition, pgs.
47-52.) Plaintiffs allege that Dr. ...