The Tinley Park mother of a Joliet man who was put in a coma after a 2009 bar fight filed a lawsuit on her son's behalf against two hospitals Tuesday, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The suit by Janet Bartels claims two doctors and Silver Cross Hospital, then in Joliet (it moved to New Lenox this year) and Provena St. Joseph's Medical Center, also in Joliet, were negligent and didn't properly talk to first responders after her son was injured in the attack, the Tribune reported.
29, suffered massive head trauma and continues to endure debilitating effects after Joseph Messina, 24, of New Lenox, allegedly knocked Bartels to the ground with a single punch outside the Mokena bar 191 South in July 2009. Eric currently is being taken care of by his mother and lives with her in her Tinley Park home, the Tribune reported.
READ: Mokena Coma Punch Case Back on Court Docket
Messina was charged with aggravated battery, and his bench trial has been on hold in Will County Circuit Court while the trials of wife-murderer Drew Petersonand quadruple-killer Christopher Vaughn went through the system. The trial begins again Nov. 14.
After Bartels fell, a witness testified previously, Messina straddled him, punched his face again, and then "raised his arms above his head in victory." The police arrived quickly and found Messina hiding between the seats of a van, witnesses said.
But defense attorney David Carlson insists Messina didn't throw the punch that broke Bartels' skull and damaged his brain. In fact, Carlson said, Messina didn't punch anyone at all. The attorney said it was actually one of Messina's close friends who struck Bartels.
READ: No Mistrial for Defendant in Coma Beating Case
On Oct. 9, prosecuting attorneys told Will County Circuit Judge Sarah Jones they were nearing the end of their list of witnesses. However, a Mokena police detective, a Mokena police officer and three doctors are yet to take the stand before the prosecution rests.
Find More Stories About the Joseph Messina Case in Patch's Section on the Trial:
- Defense Grows Impassioned in Messina Aggravated Battery Case
- Closing Arguments Delayed on Mistrial Motion in Coma Beating Case
- Coma Beating Trial Postponed Again as Reported Photos Investigated
- Cop Can't Remember Taking Missing Pic in Coma Beating Case
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