Madison - St. Clair Record

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Dental company alleges St. Louis University damaged business


By Kyla Asbury | Sep 16, 2019

EDWARDSVILLE — La Cross Dental LLC is suing Hometown Dental and St. Louis University, alleging the defendants caused damage to the plaintiff's business.

The suit, filed Sept. 5 in Madison County Circuit Court, also names Markarian and Diliberto Endodontic PC, Joseph Gross, Woody Soonattrakul DDS LLC, which is doing business as Hometown Dental, as defendants in the suit.

According to the complaint, Gross was an employee of Markarian and Diliberto. The suit alleges La Cross noticed in 2016 that Gross' production was declining and he was performing a decreasing number of procedures compared to others in the practice. La Cross states Gross violated the terms of his employment contract several times by failing to get prior authorization for discounted or pro-bono care.

The defendants also conducted "purposeful interference" that was done to prevent La Cross' expectations "from ripening into a business relationship," according to the complaint.

La Cross alleges it had purchased microscopes and planned to employ an endodontic specialist but the defendants' conduct caused the plaintiff to suffer damages of $170,000 with the purchase of the microscopes and the loss of the endodontic specialist's expected revenue generation of at least $100,000.

The defendants are accused of tortious interference with prospective economic advantage and tortious interference with business expectations, according to the suit.

The defendants "willfully, intentionally and purposefully disclosed to a competitor...of the plaintiff's expectations of expanding the plaintiff's business include an endodontist to provide endodontic care to Plaintiff's patients," the complaint states. 

La Cross Dental seeks damages of at least $50,000 and attorney fees. It is represented by attorneys Jack Daugherty and Keith Short of Short and Daugherty PC in Alton.

Madison County Circuit Court Case number: 2019L 001276

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