Jury rules for plaintiff but reduces award

Ann Knef Nov. 7, 2005, 3:07pm

Lisa Asselmeier

A Madison County jury awarded $27,500 in compensatory damages to a woman whose dentist left a piece of dental equipment in her tooth. But, it but reduced the judgment to $17,700 because she did not seek dental attention for the problem for nine months.

Former Record employee Lisa Asselmeier said Monday night that she would "probably end up with $6,000" after legal fees and court costs are paid--about the same amount in expenses she incurred while under the care of Swansea dentist Raymond Criscio, D.M.D.

Asselmeier sued Criscio in November 2003, alleging the dentist left a piece of stainless steel dental equipment in her tooth after a root canal in the winter of 2001.

After the root canal, she claimed to have sought care from a medical doctor before seeking subsequent dental care, but that evidence was not allowed at trial.

Accepting a settlement offer would have been more advantageous, Asselmeier said.

During opening statements, Asselmeier's lead attorney, Thomas Falb, told the jury of 10 men and two women that his client was seeking damages in excess of $75,000 for pain and suffering.

Before the jury delivered its verdict, attorney Michael P. Glisson spoke optimistically of a good outcome for Asselmeier. Falb and Glisson are with Williamson, Webster, Falb & Glisson of Alton.

Glisson praised Asselmeier's ability as a witness.

He revealed that at first, when he believed the jury would be composed mainly of women, he advised his client to remove her make up because women are generally less sympathetic toward "pretty" women.

When the mostly male jury was selected, Glisson said he told his client to put the make up on again.

During the trial, the first witness Falb called was Criscio.

Criscio testified that he first met Asselmeier while she was coloring his hair at a local hair salon where she worked. Asselmeier began telling him some problems with her tooth, Criscio testified.

According to his testimony, he gave her three prescriptions that day and told her to call his office for an appointment.

When she came in he determined that she needed a root canal.

He also claimed he told her about the problem and that she needed to make a follow-up appointment to finish the work.

Criscio testified that he did not deviate from standards of care.

A medical expert witness on behalf of Asselmeier testified that Criscio should have sent Asselmeier to a specialist the day she was seen instead of delaying treatment.

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