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SKETCHES OF COURT: Jury rules in favor of dentist in malpractice trial

October 7, 2015 By Alba Acevedo Special to Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Court sketch by Alba Acevedo
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In this courtroom sketch, Hon. Bert Bunyan listens as the defendant’s attorney James Woolsey (standing), of the law firm Landman Corsi Ballaine & Ford, delivers his summation to the jury in the dental malpractice trial Lacalamita v. Magid that took place this week in Kings County Civil Term. The plaintiff was represented by Joel Kotick (seated, right), an attorney who was himself a dentist, now retired. Court reporter Ellen Neri recorded the proceedings.

Before visiting Michelle Magid, DDS, in May 2010 for a cracked filling, Jeanine Lacalamita suffered from severe headaches, vertigo and dizziness. Her chronic and disabling symptoms had previously been diagnosed as Ménière’s disease. At issue in the trial is Dr. Magid’s treatment of the plaintiff for the diagnosis of a temporomandibular disorder and not Ménière’s disease in relation to those same symptoms. 

The course of diagnosis and treatment included having a CT scan and being fitted by another dentist for an orthodontic device to reposition her jaw. The plaintiff wore this for a protracted period and alleges that it gave her an open bite and caused her considerable discomfort in eating for a year. After visits to, and advice from, other dentists, she stopped pursuing the course of treatment by Dr. Magid. 

The defense claimed that the treatment had helped the plaintiff. Dr. Magid noted in her patient reports that Lacalamita’s symptoms had lessened considerably in severity. 

The jury found that the defendant had not departed from accepted standards of dental practice in her treatment of the plaintiff’s temporomandibular disorder. Regarding informed consent, they determined that the plaintiff had not been provided with sufficient information prior to undergoing treatment, and that a reasonably prudent person in the same position would have forgone treatment given appropriate advice. The jury returned a verdict for the defendant, since they did not find that there was a substantial injury to the plaintiff. 

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