Dental School Drama Ends with $1.7M Payout

Most dentists will remember academic politics from their days in dental school, but few have seen the amount of drama Alissa Zwick has.

Zwick, 30, was asked to leave the University of Michigan’s dental school after her third year, allegedly because her clinical techniques were poor. (She maintained a B average.)

However, a federal jury sided with Zwick, finding the school’s action illegal and awarding the former student $1.7 million.

So what’s the real story? Well, it’s complicated…

Since Zwick has attention deficit disorder (ADD), she asked if she could take her exams in a private setting. Two of her professors objected to this. Associate Dean Dr. Marilyn Lantz apparently had pre-existing problems with these professors, who eventually resigned.

When this caused controversy among the students, Dr. Lantz put the blame on Zwick. Zwick’s public comments earned her first Lantz’s disapproval, then a surprising expulsion.

While the university will likely cover the damages, Dr. Lantz was named as the primary defendant. Zwick’s payout includes a million dollars in punitive damages.

Though she was admitted to seven other dental schools before Michigan, her expulsion has left her unable to get into any other dental program. So Zwick is now studying to be a speech pathologist.

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Dental Practice Tricks Patient into Getting Veneers

dental veneers for teethPatient Told Veneers Would Be Free, Then Charged $5,000

A West Virginia woman has filed suit against a Charleston dental practice, alleging that dentists tricked her into getting veneers.

The woman went in for a regular hygiene visit and was told she “needed” veneers. When she said she couldn’t afford the $5,000 price tag, she was apparently told she could receive them for free if she immediately signed a document. She was in the dental chair when she signed what turned out to be a credit application. She didn’t realize she owed money until she received the Care Credit bill a few months later.

The lawsuit claims this was an illegal violation of the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act encompassing fraud, deception and false pretense.

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Dental Lawsuit: $15M Award Against Oral Surgeon

Dental lawsuit leads to $15M verdictA dental patient has been awarded a whopping $15 million for her oral surgeon‘s failure to diagnose her precancerous lesion. However, her own lawyer acknowledges that $600,000 is the most she can actually hope to receive.

The Michigan woman, now 61, saw her general dentist in 2005 for jaw pain. She was first referred to a periodontist, who noted a lesion. She was then referred to an oral surgeon who did not biopsy the lesion.

She tried to sue all three dentists, but that case ended in a hung jury. She settled out of court with the general dentist. The periodontist prevailed in his trial, but the oral surgeon was not so lucky.

A 1996 Michigan law caps malpractice payouts at $416,000.

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Dental Implant Drama: Nobel Biocare Lawsuit

Dental implants from Nobel Biocare are the target of a new lawsuit. A California dentist is seeking a class action lawsuit against the Swiss manufacturer.

The dentist claims that the NobelDirect dental implant has serious design defects that lead to complications such as bone loss, an allegation Nobel Biocare denies.

Dr. Jason Yamada seeks compensation not just for himself but for the thousands of US dentists who have placed NobelDirect dental implants. The suit claims these dentists have had to perform or pay for additional surgeries on patients who suffered complications from the allegedly faulty implant.

The suit further alleges that Nobel Biocare has known about the defects for a number of years. In 2005-06, the Swedish Medical Products Agency investigated claims of bone loss with the NobelDirect implant. Nobel was allowed to continue selling the tooth implant, but was instructed to alter its instructions and marketing.

Nobel says that, as a result of the Swedish investigation, the product has been extremely well-documented. Spokesman Nicolas Weidmann told Reuters, “We have very, very comprehensive material and data, including the clearance from the SMPA in Sweden, that the product is absolutely safe.”

Not surprisingly, Nobel Biocare plans to fight the suit.

Read more: Dentist seeks US class action suit vs. Nobel Biocare

$15M for NYC Cosmetic Dentist Injured in Moped Crash

Hand Tremors Compromised Ability to Provide Cosmetic Dentistry

New York cosmetic dentist Dr. Larry Ashkinazy called himself the “Dentist to the Stars,” apparently serving a celebrity clientele. In 2002, he was riding his moped through Manhattan when he hit a manhole cover near Consolidated Edison service equipment. Though Con Ed claims the lid was barricaded, Dr. Ashkinazy sued.

The doctor was just awarded $15M for the hand tremors he suffered as a result of his injuries. Not surprisingly, Con Ed plans to appeal the ruling.

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