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Member Achievement and Case News: Featured

Fraud Tolls Dental Limitations Statute

Tuesday, March 13, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Tom Jensen
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In 2006 patient began treating with a general dentist having a specialty in prosthetics, and with an oral surgeon. Dentist recommended full mouth prosthodontic reconstruction involving implants after extractions. Later it was found the implants were improperly placed. He chose not to inform patient of the error believing she had endured much difficulty, and hoping he could mitigate the problems. Ultimately the misalignment prevented her from chewing without biting her tongue. A second opinion confirmed the reconstruction had to be redone. Suit was filed in 2010, after the state's two-year SOL. Trial court dismissed suit. In MacDowell v. Gallant, 2018 WL 1098299 (Ga. App. Mar. 1, 2018) the court reversed. The SOL may be tolled when the defendant is guilty of fraud if the intent is to conceal. Dentist admitted he had "withheld information from her" that would have aided MacDowell in making "a fully informed decision" about her treatment. Thus the test for fraudulent concealment was met sufficient to toll the statute. It rejected trial court's decision patient should have been aware "something was amiss" from visits to the co-provider, such that tolling abated. Appeals court held a fact issue was presented making summary judgment improvident.

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