The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Jerome B. Simandle
This matter is before the Court on Defendants Scott Bruggeworth, DDS, and Signature Smiles' motion for summary judgment [Docket Item 20] and Defendant Louis Allora's, DMD, motion for summary judgment [Docket Item 22.] Both motions for summary judgment argue that Plaintiff Shannon Campbell's complaint for dental malpractice should be dismissed because it is barred by the statute of limitations.
For the reasons discussed herein, the court will grant both motions for summary judgment.
The instant dental malpractice action arises out of dental treatment performed on the Plaintiff by Defendants Scott Bruggeworth, DDS, Signature Smiles and Louis Allora, DMD (collectively "Defendants") after Plaintiff broke her jaw and lost several teeth in a motor vehicle accident in 2002. Defendant Signature Smiles is the dental office of Defendant Scott Bruggeworth. Defendant Bruggeworth contracted with Defendant Louis Allora in providing dental treatment to the Plaintiff.
On December 17, 2002, Plaintiff was seen by Defendant Bruggeworth for the first time following her injury in the motor vehicle accident. (Def. Allora's Ex. B, "Progress Notes," at 1.) At this consultation, Dr. Bruggeworth discussed options for dealing with her missing four bottom front teeth. (Def. Bruggeworth's Ex. B, Dep. of Shannon Campbell, "Campbell Dep.," at 19:23-20:12.) Dr. Bruggeworth advised that Plaintiff was too young to have false teeth and explained that implants would "look like your real teeth and this will act and serve as your real teeth, you'll eat and be able to go on with life like this never happened." (Campbell Dep. at 26:5-8.) The Plaintiff agreed to the implants and understood the implant process to involve putting three pieces of metal into her jaw and then something placed on top of the metal that looked like her real teeth. (Campbell Dep. 28:13-29:8.)
Defendant Allora also became involved in Plaintiff's treatment, but the Plaintiff was unable to separate out what treatment was provided by Bruggeworth and what was provided by Allora, since she often saw them both at office visits. (Campbell Dep. at 25:1-27:9; 44:13-45:13.)
Plaintiff proceeded with the implantation procedure. Dr. Allora performed the implant procedure on the Plaintiff on May 23, 2004. (Campbell Dep. at 25:1-12 and Progress Notes at 5.) After the Plaintiff had healed from the implantation procedure, four permanent teeth were affixed to the implantations. (Campbell Dep. at 35:6-9.) On December 17, 2004, Dr. Bruggeworth completed the restoration and cemented the bridge with "temp cement." (Progress Notes at 8.) When putting in the permanent teeth, Dr. Bruggeworth told the Plaintiff, "Now, these are not going to come out, these are -- this is done, like these are in. . . These are going to stay in and there's no reason for us to have to go back in there again." (Campbell Dep. 40:7-11.)
Less than two weeks later, the Plaintiff's bridge with her permanent teeth became loose. (Campbell Dep. 40:16-20.) When the Plaintiff returned to Dr. Bruggeworth to have her bridge fixed, Dr. Bruggeworth told the Plaintiff he had not put the teeth in with a permanent solution "in case he had to go back in and do something with the implant." (Campbell Dep. 41:13-14.) The Plaintiff was upset because she was told the teeth were permanently in place when Dr. Bruggeworth first installed them. (Campbell Dep. 41:1-21.) Dr. Bruggeworth then recemented the bridge with "temp cement" a second time on December 20, 2004. (Progress Notes.)
The Plaintiff continued having problems with her dental apparatus becoming unattached. The Plaintiff went back to Dr. Bruggeworth on August 26, 2005, and Dr. Bruggeworth recemented the bridge into place with Durelon cement. (Progress Notes at 8.) The Plaintiff saw Dr. Bruggeworth again on October 18, 2005, and Dr. Bruggeworth again recemented Plaintiff's bridge into place, this time for no charge. (Progress Notes at 8.) Each time the Plaintiff went back to the Defendants, "the doctors kept saying they really wouldn't come out, now they're in, now they're in, and it continued to happen." (Campbell Dep. 43:23-25.)
After several visits to the Defendants to recement her bridge, the Plaintiff was at a job serving as a waitress when her teeth fell out in the middle of a shift. (Campbell Dep. 43:15-16.) The Plaintiff was mortified and "ran to a drugstore and grabbed dental adhesive to get them to stay in there, and from that point on I pretty much continued to use that." (Campbell Dep. 43:17-20.) The Plaintiff continued to hold her bridge in place with over the counter dental adhesive.
The Plaintiff moved from New Jersey to Wisconsin sometime in 2006. (Campbell Dep. 38:16-19.) Prior to moving to Wisconsin in 2006, the Plaintiff ceased going to the Defendants for dental care for "quite a while." (Campbell Dep. 45:18-21.) The Plaintiff explained her decision to stop her dental care with the Defendants:
Because after going to see him on several occasions I had worked with him for a long period of time, I had gone through pain, visits, missed work, you know, everything with these doctors telling me that everything was going to be fine, and then they finally put the teeth on and they are popping out of my mouth all over the place. And I had gone back on several occasions and said to them, you know, this isn't what it was supposed to be. This was -- you told me that this was going to be a permanent thing . . . they kept telling me it's not going to happen again, why am I going to make an appointment to see ...