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New Jersey Verdicts

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Prosthodontist accused of causing permanent nerve damage

Amount:

$20,000

Type:

Verdict-Plaintiff

State:

New Jersey

Venue:

Hudson County

Court:

Hudson County Superior Court

Injury Type(s):

dental neurological-nerve damage/neuropathy (nerve damage, inferior alveolar)

Case Type:

Medical Malpractice - Dentist, Negligent Treatment

Case Name:

Lilian Belleza v. Shweta Shah, No. HUD-L-53-12

Date:

July 26, 2013

Parties

Plaintiff(s):

Lilian Belleza (Female, 60 Years)

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

Frank J. Nostrame; Law Office of Frank J. Nostrame; Jersey City, NJ, for Lilian Belleza

Plaintiff Expert(s):

Warren Torchinsky; DDS; Maxillofacial Surgery; Maple Shade Township, NJ called by Frank J. Nostrame

Defendant(s):

Shweta Shah

Defense Attorney(s):

Brian H. Corrigan; Parsippany, NJ, trial counsel to Morrison Mahoney LLP; Parsippany, NJ, for Shweta Shah

Defendant Expert(s):

Philip Geron; Oral Surgery; Westfield, NJ called by Brian H. Corrigan

Facts:

On Feb. 1, 2010, plaintiff Lilian Belleza, 60, a health care worker, presented to Shweta Shah, a prosthodontist, to receive four dental implants. Before the procedure, Belleza had consulted with Shah about prosthodontic treatment options. Belleza claimed that even into the night of the date on which the procedure was performed, she continued experiencing numbness in her chin. She claimed she later went for a follow-up visit, but that Shah could not relieve her chin numbness. Belleza claimed she was left with permanent alveolar nerve damage. Belleza sued Shah for medical malpractice, alleging that Shah's treatment during the implant procedure had fallen below the applicable standard of care, and had caused Belleza to suffer nerve damage. Counsel for Belleza argued that as soon as Belleza developed numbness during the implantation, Shah should have backed out the implants, to relieve the pressure in that area of the mouth, which would have thereby prevented the nerve damage from occurring. Shah contended that there had been no negligence or deviation from the standard of care during the procedure. She claimed that since the nerve was clinically healing, there was no indication that the position of the implants caused any problems, and, furthermore, that backing out the implants might have caused injury.

Injury:

Belleza claimed she still experiences daily numbness in her chin, as well as occasional itching and burning. She claimed that follow-up neurological testing determined that the nerve damage is permanent in nature. Her suit sought damages for her pain and suffering. Counsel for Shah contended that Belleza had fully healed from her alleged injury, with a total return of normal sensation, and that she should receive no zero damages.

Result:

The jury found in favor of Belleza, and determined that she should receive $20,000 in damages.

Trial Information:

Judge:

Lawrence M. Maron

Trial Length:

5  days

Trial Deliberations:

5  hours

Jury Vote:

7-1

Jury Composition:

1 male/ 6 female

Post Trial:

Plaintiff's motion for additur was denied.

Editor's Comment:

This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff's and defense counsel.