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Dentist Took Them All; Woman Receives $1.2 Million from Tooth Jury

August 2, 1996

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A secretary who went to the dentist for a cleaning and ended up toothless was awarded $1.2 million in what her attorney said was California’s biggest dental malpractice judgment.

After Dr. Leoneed Gordon told Linda Jeffery her teeth were so rotten they would fall out in a few months, she said she was so scared that she let him pull them all.

Wearing full dentures, the 46-year-old Palmdale school secretary said she was ``very happy with the verdict,″ which was handed down Monday.

Now that she has won her case, Jeffery said she was going to look into getting dental implants.

Attorney Samuel Huestis, who represented Gordon, said neither he nor the dentist would comment on the verdict.

Experts testified that Jeffery merely needed a deep periodontal cleaning when she visited Gordon in 1990, but the dentist gave her the grim choice of expensive, painful surgery to try to save the teeth, or a 30-minute procedure to replace them with dentures, the suit said.

``He sold her a bill of goods because it was to his economic advantage,″ said John Contos, Jeffery’s attorney.

With dentures, Jeffery would have to visit only once every two years for realignment, but Gordon would get $25-a-month insurance money just for listing her as a patient, the attorney said.

However, if she had kept her teeth, Gordon would have received the same amount of money but would have had to treat Jeffery every few months.

Gordon, who was trained in Russia, has practiced in the Los Angeles area since 1985, according to Contos.

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