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FONTAINE ALISSI P.C. MAKES NEW LAW INTERPRETING THE “SIMILAR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER” REQUIREMENT OF C.G.S. § 52-190a


On Jan. 30, 2018, the Connecticut Appellate Court in Doyle v. Aspen Dental of Southern CT, PC et al, AC 39325, issued a decision affirming a dismissal of a malpractice action against an oral and maxillofacial surgeon on the ground that the opinion letter attached to the complaint was authored by a general dentist who was not a similar health care provider to the defendant as required by statute (Conn.Gen.Stat. §§ 52-190a and 52-184c (c)).

The Appellate Court rejected the Plaintiff’s argument that she had no way to discover or verify the defendant’s training and experience as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon because such information was not available on the State of Conn. Dept. of Public Health website, which lists only board certifications of physicians. Because there were notations in the medical record referring to treatment by an “oral surgeon” and the author of the opinion letter had identified such notations in his opinion letter, the Appellate Court held that such letter put plaintiff on notice of the defendant’s training as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

Moreover, the Appellate Court held that § 52-190a (a) required the plaintiff to conduct a reasonable inquiry for a defendant health care provider’s credentials and that there are other methods to conduct such reasonable inquiry aside from the Dept. of Public Health’s website. Specifically, the Court indicated that plaintiff could have asked Aspen Dental or the defendant for the defendant’s credentials or plaintiff could have filed a bill of discovery.

The defendant oral and maxillofacial surgeon was represented by Beverly Knapp Anderson a Fontaine Alissi partner, , who has become the in-house expert on § 52-190a. During the past year alone, she has been successful in obtaining dismissals of close to a dozen malpractice cases based on deficiencies under § 52-190a.