Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Baltimore County jury awards $38K in suit against dentist

A Baltimore County jury has awarded a Parkville man more than $38,000 in damages from the dentist he retained to perform a full-mouth restoration.

Peter Ferraro was awarded $8,800 in past dental bills, $30,000 for future dental bills and $1 in noneconomic damages from Dr. Richard W. Muths and his Kings Court Family Dentistry. Ferraro’s lawyer said his client felt both “vindicated and disappointed” with the verdict because cost estimates to repair his teeth have ranged between $30,000 and $60,000.

“It may or may not be enough to get this fixed,” said the lawyer, Robert E. Joyce.

Jurors deliberated for approximately seven hours and at one point informed Judge S. Ann Brobst they had reached an impasse. That prompted Brobst to issue an Allen charge, reminding jurors to take an impartial view of the evidence and re-examine their views if needed.

A defense motion for new trial filed last week argues that the resulting damage award, announced April 15, suggests jurors ultimately compromised and did not reach a unanimous decision on liability. The past-damages award, for example, is roughly half of what Muths charged Ferraro for the procedure.

Muths’ lawyer, Trace Krueger of Baxter, Baker, Sidle, Conn & Jones P.A. in Baltimore, declined to comment because the defense motion is pending.

Muths put crowns on almost all of Ferraro’s teeth during the April 2004 procedure, according to the complaint filed in Baltimore County Circuit Court.

Ferraro previously had been treated for periodontal disease through the University of Maryland Medical Center, where he underwent bone grafting and gum ligament surgeries, according to Joyce, a Baltimore solo practitioner. Once the periodontal disease stabilized, Ferraro turned to his teeth’s aesthetics.

According to Joyce, a UMMC prosthodontist told Ferraro he did not need a full-mouth restoration, instead recommending veneers to improve the look of each tooth while allowing work to continue on the gum disease.

But Muths said the disease could be treated even after a full-mouth restoration, Joyce said. The dentist “improperly designed and installed the crowns,” causing an uneven biting surface and leaving the gum disease untreated, the complaint states. Joyce said that Muths had to keep changing the crowns he implanted, and all of the work caused one of Ferraro’s teeth to fall out.

Ferraro has not developed jaw problems, Joyce added, but that is a concern the longer his mouth remains in its present condition.