A Newport Beach dentist with a roster of celebrity clients and TV appearances has been ordered to pay $641,542 to a woman who experienced relentless pain after receiving a mouthful of botched crowns.
Ingrid Valdez and her husband, Barry Cosgrove, who live in Laguna Beach, sued Dr. Sherri Worth for dental malpractice in 2010.
Earlier this month, the judgment was approved by Orange County Superior Court Judge Geoffrey Glass after binding arbitration concluded that Worth’s testimony was “not credible.”
“It is a substantial verdict,” said the couple’s San Francisco attorney, Edwin Zinman. “For a dental case, this is one of the larger.”
Worth’s attorney David J. Weiss of Los Angeles, reached late Tuesday, praised her dentistry skills and said he disputed the arbitrator’s findings.
“In terms of her credentials and qualifications, they’re without reproach,” Weiss said. “She’s an excellent doctor.”
According to arbitration documents, Valdez consulted with Worth because she felt her smile looked “gummy,” she had a chipped tooth and her front teeth were discolored. In 2009, Worth put crowns or veneers on 22 teeth. Afterward, Valdez experienced extreme pain and sensitivity.
Cosgrove said in an interview that his wife thought she was receiving veneers, not crowns. they paid Worth $45,000, he said, and have spent $70,000 fixing Valdez’s mouth. he said she has undergone two gum surgeries, eight root canals and lost 20 percent of her body weight because she couldn’t eat.
Worth’s website includes a testimonial from musician Tommy Lee as well as a clip of her with “American Idol” contestant Ace Young. Her other credits include transforming smiles for the plastic surgery shows “The Swan” and “Nip/Tuck.”
“They see ‘The Swan’ and they see this and that,” Cosgrove said. “People are naïve, and we were naïve. People need to have information to make intelligent decisions about their healthcare.”
According to the arbitration documents, Worth argued that Valdez suffered from temporary irritation from the cement used in the procedure.
Arbitrator Joseph Thielen wrote that “the office chart is not reliable, has been rewritten in substantial part, critical evidence has been ‘lost’ or destroyed, and that defendant’s testimony is not credible.”
For instance, the documents say that when a documents expert for Valdez was scheduled to examine medical records and attempt to determine the age of the ink, Worth testified that she spilled a Diet Coke that covered the entirety of every page in question.
The arbitrator wrote that the spill prevented a definitive examination and Worth’s “contrived explanation defies believability.”
He also noted that Worth diagnosed 10 cavities that were not verified by X-rays or photos.
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