The Chicago Trust Company, N.A., Guardian of the Estate of Craig F. Pierce, a Disabled Person, and Susan Pierce, Individually v. Sudha Cherukuri, M.D., et al.

  • Court: Illinois State, Cook County, Circuit Court
  • Case number: 2021-L-007988
  • Filed: August 9, 2021
  • Judge: Judge James P Flannery | Judge Kathy M Flanagan | Judge Thomas V. Lyons.
  • Case Type: Medical Malpractice

Parties Involved

  • Plaintiffs: The Chicago Trust Company, N.A., Guardian of the Estate of Craig F. Pierce | Susan Pierce, Individually and as Wife and Next Friend of Craig F. Pierce, a disabled person
    • Counsel for Plaintiff: Christopher T. Hurley |  Mark R. McKenna | Clint T. Pierce
  • Defendants: OSF HealthCare System | Fresenius Medical Care of Illinois, LLC | RenalCare Associates, S.C. | Sudha Cherukuri, M.D.| Fresenius Kidney Care | Fresenius Health Partners, Inc. | Fresenius USA Manufacturing, Inc. | Fresenius Medical Care North America | Fresenius Kidney Care Macomb |  Fresenius Medical Care Holdings, Inc. |  Fresenius Medical Care Macomb |  Fresenius Medical Care
    • Counsel for Defendants: Anthony Joseph Longo |Benjamin J. Levinsky | Jonathan James Bobell

Verdict Information

  • Verdict date: May 7, 2024
  • Total damages awarded to Plaintiff: $41,149,942.38
    • Damages awarded to Craig Pierce for his injuries: $35,149,942.38
    • Damages awarded to Susan Pierce for her damages and loss of her husband’s services: $6,000,000

About the Case


In March 2016, Plaintiff Craig Pierce, a 64-year-old lawyer from Bushnell, Illinois, underwent pneumonia treatment at Defendant OSF HealthCare System’s St. Francis Hospital in Peoria. During his stay, he developed acute kidney injury due to the pneumonia treatment, requiring short-term dialysis and nephrologist consultations. Additionally, OSF cardiologists diagnosed him with atrial fibrillation (AFib), a condition causing an irregular heartbeat and increasing stroke risk.

To mitigate stroke risk, OSF cardiologists Dr. Barry Clemson and Dr. Jeffrey Heslop prescribed Coumadin on March 10, 2016, and recommended daily blood tests to monitor its effectiveness. Coumadin patients with AFib need regular blood tests to keep their INR between 2.0 and 3.0. INR levels below 2.0 significantly increases stroke risk, and physicians have to adjust the Coumadin dosage to achieve a therapeutic range.

On March 14, 2016, an OSF hospitalist discharged Mr. Pierce with a 3 mg daily Coumadin prescription and arranged for outpatient dialysis at the Fresenius clinic in Macomb, Illinois, due to his acute kidney injury. His INR level was 1.9 at discharge, but no outpatient INR monitoring plan was established.

Over the next four weeks, Mr. Pierce underwent four dialysis treatments at Fresenius. Nephrologist Defendant Dr. Sudha Cherukuri, Fresenius’s Medical Director, supervised his care. His INR levels fell, reaching 1.3 by April 5, 2016, posing a severe stroke risk. However, no healthcare provider adjusted his Coumadin dosage to reach a therapeutic range.

On the morning of April 13, 2016, Mr. Pierce suffered a large stroke in his right middle cerebral artery. CT imaging revealed a large clot in his brain, likely originating from his left atrium, obstructing blood flow to nearly the entire right side of his brain. Following this, a medical malpractice lawsuit was filed against the Defendants for their failure to monitor and adjust the medication accordingly to prevent stroke.


As a direct result of the Defendants’ negligence, Craig Pierce suffered a major stroke. After the stroke, Craig Pierce became paralyzed on the left side of his body and suffered severe cognitive deficits. Following the stroke, he lost the ability to practice law or function independently. His wife Susan and grandchildren have to provide 24-hour care at home. As a result of the preventable stroke, the Plaintiff completely lost the ability to enjoy life and engage in activities.


The amount in demand for the damages and injuries suffered by the Plaintiffs as a result of the Defendants’ negligence, carelessness, and medical malpractice was in excess of $50,001. The Plaintiffs demanded a judgment against the Defendants and requested a trial by jury.

Jury Verdict

On May 7, 2024, the jury ruled in favor of Craig and Susan Pierce against OSF HealthCare System, Fresenius Medical Care of Illinois, LLC, RenalCare Associates, S.C., and Dr. Sudha Cherukuri. The jury awarded $41,149,942.38 in damages, with $35,149,942.38 allocated to Craig Pierce for his injuries and $6,000,000 to Susan Pierce for her injuries and loss of her husband’s services.

This verdict is the largest in Illinois history for a stroke case and for a medical malpractice plaintiff over 70 years old. Including the prejudgment interest, the total amount in damages to the Plaintiffs stands at $44,863,583.75.

Court documents:

Available upon request


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