Dentist files slander suit against fellow practitioner in Madison County

By Steve Gonzalez | Nov 29, 2007

Dr. Richard Boatman, Jr. filed a two-count slander and defamation suit Nov. 20 in Madison County against fellow dentist Dr. William Beckert.

Boatman claims he has been a dentist for over 20 years and has considerable knowledge in the field and was regarded with esteem and good opinion by his patients.

Boatman claims that on Nov. 8, 2004, he saw two patients for various dental problems.

"That using the most advanced techniques for diagnosis, based upon Plaintiff's continuing education and the most advanced equipment, Plaintiff diagnosed the dental problems for said patients and recommended an appropriate treatment plan for each patient," the complaint states.

Boatman claims the two patients sought a second opinion from Beckert, and without the benefit of his notes, radiographs or intra-oral photographs and without speaking with him, Beckert made statements to the patients about Boatman and his treatment plan in a false and defamatory manner.

Boatman claims Beckert told the patients that the treatment plan he prescribed was both unnecessary and excessive and would result in unnecessary procedures being done for the sole purpose of generating additional income.

"That said words, when spoken by the Defendant, were totally without foundation in fact, and wholly false, and Defendant knew or should have known at the time of making said statements that his statements were totally false, made without reason to believe them to be true, and made irresponsibly, maliciously and intentionally with the effect of maligning and injuring plaintiff in his dental practice," the complaint states.

"That said words expose plaintiff to public hatred, contempt or ridicule, and induce an evil opinion of plaintiff and as such constitutes slander per se," the complaint states.

He also claims Beckert corresponded with the Illinois Department of Financial Regulation, the arm of the State of Illinois that regulates professional conduct of dentists.

According to Boatman, the false correspondence was defamatory and wholly false and injurious because it indicated that he recommended treatment to generate extra fees.

Boatman claims Beckert's alleged slander and defamation caused him to become "greatly injured in name and reputation" all to his damage in excess of $100,000.

Represented by James Drazen of Troy, Boatman is also seeking punitive damages in excess of $600,000.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Daniel Stack.

07 L 989

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