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Dentist’s Testimony Not Excluded

Although defendant restaurant owner says plaintiff, who alleges he cracked a porcelain crown while eating at defendant’s restaurant, will wind up with better teeth than he had before the incident, a Norfolk Circuit Court says that’s not a reason to exclude the dentist’s testimony.

In plaintiff’s suit alleging he cracked a porcelain crown of his tooth while eating at defendant’s restaurant, a Norfolk Circuit Court overrules defendant’s motion in limine to exclude a treating dentist’s testimony.

Defendant seeks to exclude Dr. Solomon from testifying for two reasons. First, he does not install implants and there is no foundation opinion from an oral surgeon about the suitability of implants for plaintiff or the number that would be appropriate. I note, however, that the plaintiff names Dr. Morrison, the oral surgeon to whom Dr. Solomon referred him, on his witness list. If Dr. Morrison does not testify, the trial judge will have to resolve this as there was only a cursory examination of Dr. Solomon’s knowledge of dental implants in his discovery deposition.

Second, defendant complains Dr. Solomon’s treatment plan would give the plaintiff better dentition than he had before he visited its restaurant. The third treatment option would restore to plaintiff the three functioning teeth he had before the incident complained of. Teeth 6 and 7 as restored will be an improvement over the decayed teeth 6 and 7 plaintiff had when he broke the crown on tooth 5. However, it is well established in Virginia law that one who negligently inflicts a personal injury on another is responsible for all the ill effects which, considering the condition of health in which plaintiff was when he received the injury, naturally and necessarily follow such injury.

Whether plaintiff should recover only for an implant and restoration of tooth 5 or for implants for teeth 6 and 7, a bridge to tooth 5, and restorations of all three, and how much, if any, he should recover, are matters for the jury to determine after hearing the evidence of the experts, the instructions of the court on mitigation of damages and pre-existing obligations and the argument of counsel.

I overrule the motion in limine.

Shinas v. GHS Enterprises Inc. (Martin) No. CL 11-107, Dec. 21, 2011; Norfolk Cir.Ct.; Neal C. Schulwolf, Les C. Brock for the parties. VLW 011-8-234, 2 pp.

VLW 011-8-234

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