Friday, July 27, 2007

Encyclopedia Entry: What is Wrong with the World Today.


See also: @$$hole and filthy human being.

Prankster dentist wins in court

OLYMPIA, Wash. - An oral surgeon who temporarily implanted fake boar tusks in his assistant's mouth as a practical joke and got sued for it has ended up with the last laugh.

Dr. Robert Woo of Auburn had put the phony tusks in while the woman was under anesthesia for a different procedure. He took them out before she awoke, but first he shot photos that eventually made it around the office.

The employee, Tina Alberts, felt so humiliated when she saw the pictures that she quit and sued her boss.

Woo's insurance company, Fireman's Fund, refused to cover the claim, saying the practical joke was intentional and not a normal business activity his insurance policy covered, so Woo settled out of court. He agreed to pay Alberts $250,000, then sued his insurers.

A King County Superior Court jury sided with Woo, ordering Fireman's Fund to pay him $750,000, plus the out-of-court settlement. The insurance company won the next round, with the state Court of Appeals saying the prank had nothing to do with Woo's practice of dentistry. On Thursday, the state Supreme Court restored Woo's award.

In a sprightly 5-4 decision, Supreme Court Justice Mary Fairhurst wrote that Woo's practical joke was an integral, if odd, part of the assistant's dental surgery and "conceivably" should trigger the professional liability coverage of his policy.

Dissenting Justice James Johnson said the prank wasn't a dental procedure at all and only "rewards Dr. Woo's obnoxious behavior and allows him to profit handsomely."

The oral surgery on Alberts was intended to replace two of her teeth with implants, which Woo did. First, though, he installed temporary bridges that he had shaped to look like boar tusks, and while Alberts was still under anesthesia, he took photos, some with her eyes propped open. Before she woke up, he removed the "tusks" and put in the proper replacement teeth.

Woo says he didn't personally show her the pictures but staffers gave her copies at a birthday party.

Woo's lawyer, Richard Kilpatrick, described the surgeon as a kindhearted, fun-loving man who was chagrined that an office prank turned out so badly. He was delighted with the high court's decision, Kilpatrick said.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Nadine said...

OMG! That is CRAZY! Someone like that should not be able to be in that profession.

11:49 AM  
Blogger Jayne Deaux said...

I rarely side with insurance companies, but effing hell! I can't believe he hasn't lost his license. I hope his other patients take their business elsewhere.

2:04 PM  

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