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Case Law Update: Dental Malpractice (9-21-09)

Thomas v. Koe, No. 4-08-0705 (9-21-09) stated that the trial court erred in granting motion in limine to exclude reference to IDFPR investigation related to care in question, where defendant dentist refused to allow investigator in his office after arriving unannounced to inspect his sterilization equipment. Under “same-part-of-the-body” rule, trial court should have barred testimony that plaintiff’s tonsillitis, use of alcohol, and diabetes could have contributed to plaintiff’s severe infection which developed following tooth extraction. Finding of direct criminal contempt proper where plaintiff’s counsel violated in limine order barring reference to IDFPR investigation; counsel’s strong belief that ruling was in error irrelevant. This case will impact dental malpractice cases.