MINNEAPOLIS, Dec. 18 In a landmark case, a Minnesota juryrecently awarded over $130 million to a Minnesota dental group, PDG, P.A.,after a month-long trial. The verdict in the Hennepin County Districtlawsuit, reached by the unanimous jury after three days of deliberations,included $88.3 million in actual damages and an additional $42.25 million inpunitive damages. The Minneapolis business litigation firm of Anthony Ostlund& Baer, P.A. represented PDG, P.A. Attorneys Joseph Anthony, Randy Gullicksonand Karlyn Vegoe Boraas successfully tried the case on behalf of PDG, P.A.
PDG, P.A. is the dental group comprised of 115 doctors that practice at 31Park Dental and The Dental Specialists clinics in the Twin Cities. PDGasserted claims against its administrative service provider, American DentalPartners, Inc. and its local subsidiary, PDHC, Ltd. PDG alleged that theservice provider wrongfully engaged in conduct constituting the practice ofdentistry in violation of Minnesota law and the parties' contract. PDG alsoalleged that defendants interfered with its plans to transition to new clinicsafter PDG terminated its contract with the service provider. The jury ruledin PDG's favor and awarded damages on claims for breach of contract, breach ofthe implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, breach of fiduciary duty,defamation and tortious interference with contractual relations andprospective advantage.
The case arises from a 1996 agreement between PDG and American DentalPartners subsidiary, PDHC, in which PDG agreed to pay PDHC certain fees inexchange for non-dental administrative services. For the first several years,the relationship worked as intended. PDG claimed that starting inapproximately 2004, PDHC overstepped its authority by taking various actionsthat constituted the practice of dentistry and violated the parties' contract.After PDG terminated the contract in March 2007, PDHC and American DentalPartners took actions to interfere with PDG's ability to transition to newclinics, including recruiting PDG's dentists for a new professionalassociation backed by American Dental Partners, refusing to provide a copy ofPDG's electronic patient records and contacting vendors who attempted to dobusiness with PDG.
The large jury verdict will have far-reaching implications for clinics andhospitals nationwide that have contracted with business administrative servicecompanies. "It puts in sharp relief the tension that exists in the healthcare industry over who controls the practice of medicine and dentistry," saidJoseph Anthony, lead trial counsel for the dentists. "Will it be the doctorsor will it be non-doctor trained service providers?"
About Anthony Ostlund & Baer, P.A.
Anthony Ostlund & Baer is a firm of trial lawyers devoted to the practiceof business litigation. The firm represents its clients in a wide variety ofbusiness litigation matters including securities, shareholder, labor andemployment, professional negligence, intellectual property, antitrust, realestate, banking, contract, partnership, unfair competition, fraud, patent andtrademark litigation. Much of the firm's practice consists of multiparty,complex litigation. Anthony Ostlund & Baer ranks among the top businesslitigation firms in Minnesota according to Chambers and Partners, the leadinglegal services publisher worldwide. Chambers and Partners rank Mr. Anthonyand Mr. Gullickson among the top commercial litigation attorneys in Minnesota.For more information, contact Joseph Anthony, Randy Gullickson or Karlyn VegoeBoraas at 612-349-6969.
SOURCE Anthony Ostlund & Baer