In this case for dental malpractice handled by Steve Mutz, 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.
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.
Steve Mutz argued that the treating dentists were independent contractors and disputed that there was any unlicensed dental treatment. He 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, Mr. Mutz stressed that plaintiff abandoned his treatment and negligently wore a temporary bridge made of acrylic for several years.
Result: The judge granted Mr. Mutz’s motion for a directed verdict at the end of the plaintiff’s and defendants’ cases.