DENTAL MALPRACTICE – REPRESENTATIVE CASES

JUDGE GRANTS G&S' POST-TRIAL MOTION DISMISSING ACTION AGAINST DENTAL GROUP BASED UPON PLAINTIFF'S FAILURE TO PROVE TREATING DENTIST WAS EMPLOYEE AND NOT AN INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR - 2017

In this case for dental malpractice, it was alleged that our client (dental group) was vicariously liable for  improper bridge work performed by a treating dentist.  Plaintiff alleged that had the dental group first provided her with periodontal treatment, her lower teeth would have been preserved and not reduced to stumps with permanent crowns.

The jury rendered a verdict for which our client was found to be 50% liable.

In deciding our post-trial motion, the judge determined that there was no evidence of the dental group’s vicarious responsibility for the acts or omissions of the treating dentist, either as an employee or under an agency theory.  Specifically, she found that there was no evidence that the treating dentist was the subject to the direction and control of the dental group as to the manner or method of performing the work. Moreover, the judge determined that there was no evidence from which a jury could conclude that plaintiff accepted the services of the treating dentist in reliance upon the belief that he was an employee or agent of the dental group.  Therefore, the judge wholly dismissed the action against our client.

 

G & S OBTAINS DIRECTED VERDICT FOR DENTAL GROUP FOR CLAIMED NEGLIGENT REPLACEMENT OF LOWER RIGHT BRIDGE RESULTING IN BONE LOSS, UNNECESSARY TOOTH PREPARATION, RESTORATION AND IMPLANT COSTS, PAIN AND SUFFERING

In this case for dental malpractice our client was alleged to have negligently replaced a lower right bridge with an ill-fitting lower right bridge, with unnecessary preparation of the tooth, restoration and implant costs, pain and suffering. Plaintiff claimed that the co-defendant dentists implemented a negligent treatment plan and failed to obtain his informed consent. Plaintiff alleged that our client, the dental group, was vicariously liable for the treatment and for allowing unlicensed treatment by a former dentist and technician.

We argued that the treating dentists were independent contractors and we disputed that there was any unlicensed dental treatment. We contended that the lower right bridge required expansion due to the loss of an abutment tooth and that the informed consent was established by signed consent forms. Finally plaintiff’s expert conceded consent was “ideal” on cross-examination. Finally, we stressed that plaintiff abandoned his treatment and negligently wore a temporary bridge made of acrylic for several years.

Result: The judge granted our motion for a directed verdict at the end of the plaintiff's and defendants' cases.

G&S Wins Defense Verdict for Dentist Who Allegedly Caused Plaintiff's Extreme TMJ After a Three Week Trial

Plaintiff alleged that our client prosthodontist caused a TMJ dysfunction and permanent malocclusion leading to an inability to eat anything but liquid, puréed or diced food. At trial, several lay and expert witnesses were introduced on the issue of whether our client's treatment was indicated and necessary to prevent decay, fractures, and future RCT and loss of tooth.

We put on evidence that force was not utilized when our client inserted the inlays, as evidenced by the lack of fractures in the inlays themselves and lack of history of such an incident in subsequent records. The plaintiff was forced to admit to having similar prior treatment and that our client informed him that he might "ultimately" lose his tooth without the treatment. Our expert testified that the MRI films did not reveal a dislocation of the TMJ, but rather arthritis.

Plaintiff counsel asked the jury for $1,016,000. After a mere two hours of deliberation, the jury returned with a defense verdict on five separate departures questions, with a single departure found, but no causation for same.

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Defense Verdict – Ill Fitting and Bulky Crowns and Bridges
New York Supreme Court, New York County

Defendant's verdict in a case where the plaintiff claimed that the crowns and bridges were unnecessary, ill fitting and bulky with open margins. We presented evidence that a subsequent dentist permanently cemented our insureds' crowns and bridge into place, demonstrating they fit. Our expert testified the affected teeth had sealed margins, except for one due to plaintiff's grinding, smoking, and poor oral hygiene. We argued the alleged "bulkiness" was subjective and, could have been corrected by 30 seconds of grinding.

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Defense Verdict – Bulky, Ill Fitting Bridges, Negligent Periodontal Care
New York Supreme Court, Nassau County

Defendant's verdict in a case where plaintiff claimed that the bridges she received were bulky and ill fitting and required repeated and unnecessary re-insertion. She alleged inadequate periodontal evaluation and treatment which caused her severe pain, pinching, periodontal disease, infections, continuous bleeding, embarrassment from bridges falling out in public, inability to eat anything but soft food, potential future loss of teeth, years of subsequent treatment and new bridgework with questionable prognosis.

We presented expert testimony that the bridges were properly fitted. We challenged proximate cause with evidence that the crowns and bridges were loosened by the patient's bruxism (grinding and clenching habit). Proper evaluation and treatment was demonstrated by perio charting, a perio consult by a board certified periodontist, scaling, root planing, debridement, "rotary gingevectomies" during prep, and prescribing of Periostat. With regard to the claim that the bridges would fall out, we argued that the decision on the type of cement used was based on the need for further adjustment. We also presented evidence of the plaintiff's culpable conduct in the form of poor oral hygiene and her abandonment of treatment for 1 3/4 years. Evidence was also presented of her pre-existing dental conditions, missing teeth, and bone loss.

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Defense Verdict – Lack of Informed Consent; TMJ, PTSS
New York Supreme Court, New York County

Defense verdict in case where plaintiff claimed lack of informed consent regarding full upper and lower arch splint dental bridges leading to plaintiff's teeth being reduced to "stubs", TMJ, and post-traumatic stress syndrome. We presented evidence that the subsequent dentist re-prepped the teeth so they could not have been "stubs". We also had plaintiff's own psychologist to testify that he had described himself as a "con man" and a "whiner".

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Defense Verdict – Inadequate Support for Bridges, Poor Fit
New York Supreme Court, Kings County

Defense verdict where plaintiff claimed she was fitted with bridges despite being told they would be implants. She claimed inadequate support for dental bridges, and poor fit. We presented evidence that defendant properly made and inserted all restorations.

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Defense Verdict – Permanent Paresthesia 50% of Body Due to Anesthesia
New York Supreme Court, New York County

Defense verdict where plaintiff claimed permanent paresthesia over half her body after defendant dentist's administration of anesthesia. We presented evidence that plaintiff suffered from hysteria, and her claims were anatomically impossible based on the subject enervation path of the affected nerve.

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Summary Judgment – Ill Fitting Implants and Restorations; TMJ; Bone Loss, etc.
New York Supreme Court, New York County

Summary judgment dismissing the complaint where plaintiff alleged that our client negligently installed implants and provided restorations that were ill-fitting and failed to refer plaintiff to specialists, causing bone loss, periodontium destruction, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome, neuromuscular disturbance, loss of tooth structure, sensitivity, loss of future teeth, as well as anguish and loss of ability to chew properly and to engage in social activity. We moved for an order of summary judgment arguing that the claims were barred by the Statute of Limitations since they accrued more than 2 years prior to the filing of the lawsuit. Plaintiff claimed that the statute of limitations was tolled as a result of the continuous treatment doctrine.

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