by Jim Du Molin
New York City dentist Bruce Haber’s office recently exploded. Not with telephone calls or new patients, though. When an 83-year-old steam pipe ruptured underground, water, debris and asbestos shot hundreds of feet into the air. Con Ed rushed to clean up, but the disaster left several city blocks temporarily closed.
Since last week’s explosion, Dr. Haber has not been able to access his 25th-floor office. A self-described “celebrity dentist” specializing in “smile improvements,” Haber spoke at a press conference, saying, “It’s been emotionally horrible. It’s been professionally devastating.”
So he’s suing Consolidated Edison for $25 million. The utility is already facing another lawsuit stemming from the same incident. Another individual is suing for unspecified damages: a woman whose sister died on 9/11 claims emotional distress from having witnessed the explosion.
The government is making federal disaster relief aid available to the over 1,000 businesses affected by the blast, which forced several streets to close. At least 10 businesses suffered major losses, and a few still remain closed. Pedestrians are not permitted within 100 feet of the crater.
Dr. Haber’s lawsuit claims “negligence to the point of gross recklessness;” just seven hours before the explosion, Con Ed had inspected that very intersection. As a result of the blast, a man received critical burns on over 80% of his body, dozens were injured, and a woman died of a heart attack.
The pipe ruptured on July 18; Dr. Haber filed suit on July 26, eight days later. Now, let’s assume the doctor works a rigorous 8-hour day, seven days a week. So if he’s valuing eight days of lost work at $25 million, that works out to… about $390,000 per hour. He says he treats about 35 patients per day, so that would work out to just over $100,000 per patient. Wow!
Drum roll please! We’re going to have to give Dr. Haber an award for the highest hourly production of any dentist. I’m amazed and impressed! I appreciate that he is able to command such payment from his clients, who he says include “well-known athletes, actors and corporate executives.”
Read more or share your comments below.