Decision filed 04/09/07. The text of
this dec ision may be changed or
corrected prior to the filing of a
Petition for Rehea ring or the
disposition of the same.
APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS
THOMAS COY, D.O., ) Appeal from the
) Circuit Court of
Plaintiff-Appellee, ) Washington County.
v. ) No. 05-L-2
WASHINGTON COUNTY HOSPITAL )
DISTRICT, d/b/a Washington County )
(The Southern Illinoisan, Intervening ) Honorable
Petitioner-Appellant, and Nashville News, ) Richard Brown,
Intervening Petitioner). ) Judge, presiding.
PRESIDING JUSTICE WELCH delivered the opinion of the court:
Intervenor-appellant The Southern Illinoisan, a daily newspaper headquartered in
Carbondale with readership across a broad swath of southern Illinois, appeals the February
21, 2006, order of the circuit court of Washington County denying The Southern Illinoisan's
request that the court unseal, with respect to the names of patients contained therein, the
court's order of February 18, 2005, in the above-captioned case. For the reasons that follow,
we affirm the circuit court's February 21, 2006, order.
On June 28, 2004, defendant-appellee Washington County Hospital District, a
publicly owned hospital, suspended the medical privileges of plaintiff-appellee Dr. Thomas
Coy, who was at the time a hospital employee. The hospital cited "several" recent cases of
substandard medical care and stated that a suspension was necessary to reduce the likelihood
of immediate injury to patients. On January 21, 2005, Dr. Coy sued the hospital. Dr. Coy