Dental Malpractice Defense Verdict, Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Richmond

11/21/16

G.A. v. L.K., D.D.S., and M.J., D.M.D., No. 101806/2012, October 2016

Maryanne Kolenovsky, a partner in Rawle & Henderson LLP's Long Island office, obtained a unanimous defense verdict in Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Richmond for defendant M. J., D.M.D., an oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMS) in a case where the 53-year-old male plaintiff alleged inferior alveolar nerve (IAN) injury resulting in numbness to an area of his face and lip following an apicoectomy (removal of root tip and sealing the area with bio-compatible material) of tooth #20. The defense argued that injury to the IAN is a risk of a procedure on a mandibular tooth in that area.  Plaintiff sued a co-defendant general dentist (L.K.,D.D.S.) for failure to either perform or refer him to an endodontist for retreatment of root canal therapy (RCT) rather than to an OMS (Dr. M.J.) for an apicoectomy. It was claimed Dr. M.J. should not have performed an apicoectomy but should have referred plaintiff to an endodontist for re-treatment of the RCT.

At trial Dr. M.J. explained the techniques he utilized and his rationale for performing the apicoectomy.  He denied that he severed the nerve and explained how a nerve could be impacted or stretched during a procedure.  Following an 8 day trial, where all sides presented expert witnesses, the jury returned a unanimous defense verdict in favor of Dr. M.J and the co-defendant general dentist (Dr. L.K.)  Plaintiff’s settlement demand just prior to trial was $50,000.  No settlement offer was made on behalf of Dr M.J.  While the co-defendant made a settlement offer it was rejected because both defendants were not participating in the settlement.