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YOUNGSTOWN Doctor dropped from suit



Published: Wed, September 26, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Ohio law says doctors are immune from such suits in most cases.

By BOB JACKSON

VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- A doctor who treated Jackie Colon before the teen-age girl killed a baby last year has been dismissed from a lawsuit filed by the infant's mother.

Dr. William Fikter of Chagrin Falls was among a group of people and agencies sued in May by Dawn Mraz of Pine Hollow Drive. Fikter works at D & amp;E Counseling Center of Youngstown.

Mraz's infant son, Alex Zalovcik, was killed in December 2000 when Colon, who was 14 at the time, threw him from a second-floor window onto a concrete driveway, then went outside and stabbed him nearly 60 times. Alex was less than 3 months old.

Colon has been found mentally incompetent to stand trial and is being held in the Martin P. Joyce Juvenile Justice Center awaiting placement in a mental health residential treatment facility.

The suit, which seeks unspecified damages, said Fikter was negligent in not recognizing Colon's mental condition and reporting it to appropriate agencies or authorities.

Cite Ohio law: Fikter's attorneys filed a motion saying that under Ohio law, the doctor could be liable in the death only if he had information that a specific person was in danger from Colon and failed to report it. Otherwise, doctors are immune from such suits.

Judge James C. Evans of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court agreed. Since there was no proof of such threats, he dismissed Fikter from the suit.

Fikter could not be reached to comment. Dr. Harvey Kayne, clinical director at D & amp;E, was not aware of the ruling.

Atty. Mark Colucci, who represents Mraz, said he will appeal.

Several county agencies, including the board of mental retardation and developmental disabilities, children services board and county commissioners, were originally named as defendants in the suit but were dismissed by the court in July at Colucci's request.

The suit is still pending against the counseling center, Forum Health, Tod Children's Hospital and Northside Medical Center, though Colucci filed a motion Tuesday asking that they be dismissed as well. Under Ohio law, action can be refiled against them within a year.

bjackson@vindy.com




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