Monday, March 28, 2011

New Jersey Court Awards Former Dental Student $ 2 Million After Expulsion from Dental School

The University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark

$2 Million in future lost wages and $25,000 for pain and suffering was the award.
Jason Vladimer was an honors student at UMDNJ’s dental school and nearing graduation when one of his patients suffered two minor cuts during a routine procedure he performed in July 2008 under a professor’s watchful eye.

The patient was unhurt — and unconcerned — but Vladimer was expelled from the University of Medical and Dentistry of New Jersey six months later. The dismissal followed what his attorney described as "a series of miscommunications" with school officials who reviewed the incident.

Today, a Superior Court jury in Newark awarded him $2 million for future lost wages and a $25,000 for pain and suffering, lawyers said.

Vladimer, of East Brunswick, had sued UMDNJ, saying he was kicked out arbitrarily and in violation of due process.

A school spokesman, Jeffrey Tolvin, said UMDNJ was "very disappointed in the jury’s decision. We believe our actions in this case were all appropriate." The school is deciding whether to appeal, he said, adding there was no further comment.

The three-week trial included testimony from Vladimer, 28, now a student in Israel, where he is pursuing a joint biology and computers degree, said his attorney, Charles Schalk. Also testifying was the patient, David Smyly, whose lip was slightly cut from a clamp, and from a drill piece that day. Schalk’s brief described the cuts, one being about half a millimeter square, and one about 4x1 millimeters.
Smyly came from Florida to testify, and spoke glowingly of the young man, Schalk said. Smyly submitted a written statement to the court stating, "When Jason goes into private practice, I hope I can continue to use him as my personal dentist, as I am very content with his work, care and demeanor."
There may be more to the story but just the same, due process rights are due process rights. And, the jury heard all of the evidence.

Frankly, I don't know why the university who is used to having tenured faculty and unionized non-professional employees would pursue a case like this in court - where they are sure to lose.

The injuries were not extensive and mistakes happen - this is why dentists purchase malpractice insurance. The injured patient obviously was not upset.

I bet there will be no appeal and little solace to the student whose dental career was ruined.

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