Is There Exclusive Jurisdiction In a Malpractice Suit Against Doctors Who Are State Employees ?

In Janes v. Albergo, 254 Ill. App. 3d 951, 626 N.E.2d 1127, 193 Ill. Dec. 576 (1993), the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice suit in the circuit court against three doctors who were employed by a state mental health center. The defendant doctors argued that because they were state employees, the Court of Claims had exclusive jurisdiction to hear the claim. The court recognized that a doctor's duty is to exercise the same degree of knowledge, skill, and care that a reasonably well-qualified doctor in the same or similar community would use under similar circumstances. the court found that this duty is derived from the doctor's status as a licensed physician and is wholly independent of the doctor's state employment. The court held that the suit could not be considered to be against the state because the duties that the defendants allegedly breached were duties that arose out of the physician/patient relationship. They were duties that every doctor owed his patients, rather than obligations incurred solely by virtue of holding a public office. See also: Moss v. Miller, 254 Ill. App. 3d 174, 625 N.E.2d 1044, 192 Ill. Dec. 889 (1993); Kiersch v. Ogena, 230 Ill. App. 3d 57, 595 N.E.2d 696, 172 Ill. Dec. 335 (1992); Madden v. Kuehn, 56 Ill. App. 3d 997, 372 N.E.2d 1131, 14 Ill. Dec. 852 (1978).