On February 5, 2001, a Will County jury awarded a Plainfield couple (Stephen MontMarquette Jr. and Barbara MontMarquette) $2.25 million dollars for the wrongful death of their stillborn son, Stephen Charles MontMarquette III. The verdict against Joliet obstetrician Michael Borders, M.D. is an Illinois record for a stillborn child according to John Kirkton, editor of the Cook County Jury Verdict Reporter. “The highest verdict that we show for a stillbirth was in 1997 for $1 million” Kirkton said. “Before 1990, there was some dispute between the circuits as to whether to even allow loss of society for a still birth.”
In June 1996, Barbara MontMarquette was in her 36th week of pregnancy which was complicated by gestational diabetes (requiring her to take insulin) when the pregnancy was improperly managed by Dr. Borders. Plaintiffs alleged Dr. Borders failed to perform proper fetal surveillance and testing between 6/21/96 and 7/2/96 resulting in the delivery of their stillborn child on July 3, 1996. The jury’s gross award of $2.5 million was reduced by 10% because of the patient’s contributory negligence for a net award of $2.25 million dollars. Judge Gilbert Niznick presided over the 6 day jury trial. The jury deliberated 2 hours and 15 minutes before reaching a verdict. Robert J. Napleton represented the MontMarquettes at trial.