Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

2017.10.26 smile direct v michigan dental association

20 views

Published on

2017.10.26 smile direct v michigan dental association

Published in: Business
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

2017.10.26 smile direct v michigan dental association

  1. 1. 1 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN SMILEDIRECTCLUB, LLC, ) ) Plaintiff, ) ) v. ) No. ____________ ) MICHIGAN DENTAL ASSOCIATION ) ) Defendant. ) ______________________________________________________________________________ COMPLAINT ______________________________________________________________________________ Plaintiff, SmileDirectClub, LLC states for its Complaint as follows: PARTIES 1. Plaintiff SmileDirectClub, LLC (“SDC”) is a Tennessee limited liability company with its principal place of business in Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee. 2. Defendant Michigan Dental Association (“MDA) is a Michigan nonprofit corporation with its principal place of business located at 3657 Okemos Rd., Ste. 200, Okemos, Michigan 48864. MDA is an association of dental professionals licensed to practice dentistry in the State of Michigan. JURISDICTION AND VENUE 3. The causes of action set forth herein are solely between citizens of different states and the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,000, exclusive of interest or costs. Accordingly, this Court also has original jurisdiction of this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. 4. This Court has jurisdiction and venue over the Defendant and the claims asserted in the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(1), as the Defendant is a resident of this District. Case 1:17-cv-00939 ECF No. 1 filed 10/26/17 PageID.1 Page 1 of 8
  2. 2. 2 Furthermore, venue is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(2) as the events giving rise to the claim occurred in this District. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS 5. SDC offers licensed dentists and dental practices access to its web-based teledentistry platform and a comprehensive package of related non-clinical business and administrative services that permit those dentists to offer a more affordable option for orthodontic treatment of minor to mild cases of malocclusion with “invisible” corrective aligners. 6. Patients have the option to use an at-home impression kit to provide SDC with a 3D image of their smile, or they can visit one of SDC’s SmileShop locations for a laser scan of their mouth. 7. All impression kits provided to Michigan patients are sent at the direction of a Michigan- licensed dentist. SDC’s SmileShops located in Michigan are likewise under the supervision of a Michigan-licensed dentist. 8. At the core of SDC’s business model is its innovative web-based teledentistry platform, which is designed around the “SmileCheck” system. SmileCheck is a proprietary system that connects patients with their treating dentist through a web-based portal. 9. Following the receipt of an impression or scan, a Michigan-licensed dental provider uses the SmileCheck system to view images and dental impressions of his or her patients, review and develop treatment plans, prescribe treatment, track the performance of the case through retention, and document communications with patients. 10. Utilizing the SmileCheck system, the Michign-licensed dental professional determines the appropriate treatment option designed to achieve maximum cosmetic and functional improvement. Case 1:17-cv-00939 ECF No. 1 filed 10/26/17 PageID.2 Page 2 of 8
  3. 3. 3 11. The patient is then provided with a detailed explanation of the treatment plan, including a digital image of the anticipated movement in the teeth. 12. The patient subsequently receives the number of aligners designated by the Michigan- licensed dental professional and detailed instructions on use and care of the aligners. 13. Following the use of all aligners, the patient’s progress is again reviewed by the Michigan-licensed dental professional, who determines whether treatment is complete. Once complete, a patient may order a set of retainers to ensure no further shifting of teeth. 14. SDC’s involvement in the treatment of patients is limited to providing management services and production of aligners per a licensed dentist’s orders. The treating dentist maintains sole responsibility for all aspects of his or her patient’s care, including evaluating, diagnosing, and, if appropriate in the dentist’s independent professional judgment, treating the patient’s condition with SmileDirectClub aligners. 15. Upon information and belief, the MDA is an association of licensed dental professionals licensed in Michigan. 16. Membership in the MDA is by application only, and requires payment of dues of approximately $840 per year. 17. Upon information and belief, the MDA has over 5,800 members across the state of Michigan. 18. The MDA publishes a monthly “newsletter” called the Journal of the Michigan Dental Association (the “Journal”), which purports to “bring[] news, information, and features about Michigan dentistry to the MDA’s 5,800 members across the state. No publications reaches more Michigan dentists!” Case 1:17-cv-00939 ECF No. 1 filed 10/26/17 PageID.3 Page 3 of 8
  4. 4. 4 19. The Journal is also accessible to the general public through the MDA’s journal website.1 20. The August 2017 issue of the Journal included an article entitled “MDA Probes SmileDirectClub,” (the “Article”) which is attached hereto as Exhibit A and incorporated herein by reference. 21. The Article states, without reference or explanation, that “mail-ordered, self-administered impression kits and retainers … raise[] numerous legal and patient safety concerns.” 22. The Article then adds that “One of the companies that has been brought to the MDA’s attention is SmileDirectClub...,” and that SDC’s website does not “identify a Michigan dentist(s) who diagnoses, prepares a treatment plan, or issues, restrains and prepares the work authorizations that are required of dentists practicing in accordance with Michigan law.” 23. The Article acknowledges that the MDA sent a letter to SDC “to determine whether it was complying with Michigan law.” 24. The Article then states that SDC’s responses to those questions were “unsupported” and failed to “provide substantiation of any kind.” 25. The Article concludes by seeking out unsatisfied SDC patients who would be willing to speak to MDA representatives. 26. The statements in the Article were reckless and made with a conscious indifference to the truth. The Article inexplicably insinuates that SDC is practicing dentistry without a license and without regard to patient safety, despite clear representations in SDC’s advertising material, including its website, that a licensed dental professional makes all treatment decisions for each patient. 27. MDA intentionally and recklessly impugned the competence and maligned the reputation of SDC, and the Michigan-licensed dentists who treat their patients with aligners provided by 1 See https://www.michigandental.org/Digital-Journal Case 1:17-cv-00939 ECF No. 1 filed 10/26/17 PageID.4 Page 4 of 8
  5. 5. 5 SDC, in order to steer prospective patients to use the services of its association members, rather than seek alternative treatment methods through SDC. 28. The Article was published to at least 5,800 dental professionals in Michigan and, upon information and belief, has been accessed by countless members of the public through the MDA’s website. CAUSES OF ACTION 1. False Light 29. SDC hereby incorporates paragraphs 5 through 28 as if set forth herein. 30. The Article, written and published by the Defendant, placed SDC before the public in a false light that would be highly offensive to a reasonable person. 31. In this instance, the false light is that SDC provides alignment and retention services to patients without regard to patient safety and in violation of Michigan law. The tenor of the Article suggests that SDC patients should not expect to receive treatment by a licensed Michigan dental professional, and that the treatment received could be harmful to their health and or safety. 32. The statements in the article, and the overall tenor of the article, are untrue. 33. MDA had actual knowledge of, or acted with reckless disregard to the facts, that SDC utilizes licensed dental professionals to oversee the planning and treatment of each patient. 34. SDC has been damaged as a result of the Article, including loss of services of certain Michigan-licensed dental professionals, and SDC expects significant difficulty in associating new Michigan-licensed dental professionals should the Article not be retracted. 2. Trade Libel 35. SDC hereby incorporates paragraphs 5 through 34 as if set forth herein. Case 1:17-cv-00939 ECF No. 1 filed 10/26/17 PageID.5 Page 5 of 8
  6. 6. 6 36. The Article, published by the Defendant, promoted false and defamatory statements concerning SDC. 37. The Article prejudices SDC in the conduct of its business and deters patients, potential patients, and licensed Michigan dental professionals from dealing with SDC, as the tenor of the article is that SDC operates its business in violation of Michigan law and without regard for patient safety. 38. The statements in the Article are untrue. 39. MDA had actual knowledge of, or acted with reckless disregard to the facts, that SDC utilizes licensed dental professionals to oversee the planning and treatment of each patient. Moreover, MDA intentionally and recklessly impugned the competence and maligned the reputation of SDC in order to steer prospective patients to use the services of its association members, rather than seek alternative treatment methods through SDC. 40. SDC has been damaged as a result of the Article, including loss of services of certain Michigan-licensed dental professionals, and SDC expects significant difficulty in associating new Michigan-licensed dental professionals should the Article not be retracted. PRAYER FOR RELIEF WHEREFORE, SDC asks that the Court grant the following relief: 1. A finding a liability against MDA for false light and trade libel associated with the Article; 2. A judgment in an amount to be proven at trial; 3. All other relief the Court deems appropriate. Case 1:17-cv-00939 ECF No. 1 filed 10/26/17 PageID.6 Page 6 of 8
  7. 7. 7 /s/Randall A. Juip Brian J. Richtarcik (P49390) Randall A. Juip (P58538) Foley, Baron, Metzger & Juip, PLLC 38777 Six Mile Road, Suite 300 Livonia, MI 48152 Telephone: 734.742.1800 Facsimile: 734.521.2379 Email: brichtarcik@fbmjlaw.com RAJuip@fbmjlaw.com and W. David Bridgers TN BPR # 016603 (pro hac vice forthcoming) Chanelle A. Acheson TN BPR # 030008 (pro hac vice forthcoming) Kevin T. Elkins TN BPR # 033280 (pro hac vice forthcoming) WALLER LANSDEN DORTCH & DAVIS, LLP 511 Union Street, Suite 2700 Nashville, Tennessee 37219-8966 Telephone: 615.244.6380 Facsimile: 615.244.6804 Email: david.bridgers@wallerlaw.com chanelle.acheson@wallerlaw.com kevin.elkins@wallerlaw.com Attorneys for SmileDirectClub, LLC Case 1:17-cv-00939 ECF No. 1 filed 10/26/17 PageID.7 Page 7 of 8
  8. 8. 8 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN SMILEDIRECTCLUB, LLC, ) ) Plaintiff, ) ) v. ) No. ____________ ) MICHIGAN DENTAL ASSOCIATION ) ) Defendant. ) ______________________________________________________________________________ JURY DEMAND ______________________________________________________________________________ Plaintiff, SmileDirectClub, LLC respectfully demands a jury trial on all issues so triable. /s/Randall A. Juip Brian J. Richtarcik (P49390) Randall A. Juip (P58538) Foley, Baron, Metzger & Juip, PLLC 38777 Six Mile Road, Suite 300 Livonia, MI 48152 Telephone: 734.742.1800 Facsimile: 734.521.2379 Email: brichtarcik@fbmjlaw.com RAJuip@fbmjlaw.com and W. David Bridgers TN BPR # 016603 (pro hac vice forthcoming) Chanelle A. Acheson TN BPR # 030008 (pro hac vice forthcoming) Kevin T. Elkins TN BPR # 033280 (pro hac vice forthcoming) WALLER LANSDEN DORTCH & DAVIS, LLP 511 Union Street, Suite 2700 Nashville, Tennessee 37219-8966 Telephone: 615.244.6380 Facsimile: 615.244.6804 Email: david.bridgers@wallerlaw.com chanelle.acheson@wallerlaw.com kevin.elkins@wallerlaw.com Attorneys for SmileDirectClub, LLC Case 1:17-cv-00939 ECF No. 1 filed 10/26/17 PageID.8 Page 8 of 8
  9. 9. Case 1:17-cv-00939 ECF No. 1-1 filed 10/26/17 PagelD.9 Page 1 of 4 EXHIBIT A
  10. 10. Case 1:17-cv-00939 ECF No. 1-1 filed 10/26/17 PagelD.10 Page 2 of 4 How to Create Happiness as a I Practice Protocol Dealing with Opioid Abuse in Your Practice: Part II Clinicopathologic Review: Oral Radiographic Features of Systemic Conditions OF THE MICHIGAN DENTAL ASSOCIATION AUGUST 2017 4^1 tr. ES. It. V, Col;!t. _IN, 41„LyiL, e; -1",,,, t4'`A.:',,rilitt_64_41111kz.:AZ t,,, I: t.'", 4/, 4, 1.. c I,,,,, I. V) 4..4., -4, .../1...--..47p.16"...". I it. V s; 1 i' lir 14 Ai 4 lir .-1iYi0WItight14.t.ellcie-i0, !'444, 4 3.1110 "IVIrT.. 4 Y 4i .4. a iy 4. i 4 ir itgi,,,c4t,,,,,,,.!z, 4„._,, 1 1. .4._:. 4 4-,,,,,,,4,. "4;7..... i, r, f.„, 4k,,,, .1.!.411 1. 2.r. i- cf- 4'• A....,,,, 4. 7f1"- 1--, :ilil11,STU p .y.-, fr„.... y F.4,..1 -....ii-., Iis, i _..mffilm....... '1 i 4 F: 11 1 .r. r a., 1..--------':-...- 4" •t, -.40"'' Ilf,: A ..4'. n40 q I,. f '.f.t.41, r. I t:: 4,,,,,,,,,,,, -1'7:L.;Y--.:50.1.-_, .4ri.', v t. i-i.--: I. g 7,j,.,,i, A, 4,. 74rilb ..7,0,7•1 :1 t,,,, r 4,,,v 1 I_r l',, 1 --'1 -1 1.g-.:. _VA .1h" I.5 a. i;Htiltr, l, 1 0`‘'`-, --"Atigar_-_,-e'",., colgt 1 lkii.“ i 4 t-'2 1-'.• .--Ard-16- 14:-- .400* t ...ie. 411i t '11iti'ill",t 7,,,, r ...1.., ...tr-'• :j V 41 '4 1111=arti I 4....,,, n, 41101, „el,, taamompaii,4
  11. 11. Case 1:17-cv-00939 ECF No. 1-1 filed 10/26/17 PagelD.11 Page 3 of 4 CONTENTS Breaking News Updates Visit michigandental.org Journal eNews August Journal eNews mails Aug. 11 watch for it! FEATURES O r n Clinicopathologic Review: Oral EGH, TE F THE MEHC AN DENT, OEE AI ON ALFGEIST 2017 Radiographic Features of Systemic Conditions 42 4100. By Tessie Buraczewski, DMD, Elizabeth Bilodeau, DMD, MD; and Anitha Potluri, DMD Creating Happiness as a Practice ii-ELff-ff Protocol 48 Page 42 Happy practices lead to happy patients, who are more likely to accept your treatment plan, says this noted practice management i. L JIAL A El Ili By Olivia Md_eod Straine COVER STORY... 28 DEPARTMENTS How MDA Dental PAC Helps Contact the MDA 5 You Succeed in Lansing Governmental Affairs Update 6 MDA Dental PAC is the engine that News You Need 7 drives the MDA's successful legislative Endorsed Programs News 16 advocacy program in Lansing. But that Editorial 18 success can't happen without your Dentistry Is Our Political Party support. Read how MDA Dental PAC Dentistry and the Law 20 watches out for you, and see how Basic Tax Considerations When Selling Your Practice involvement by Michigan dentists from Staff Matters 22 all over the state helps make MDA Dealing with Opioid Abuse in Your Practice Part II Dental PAC a winner at the state Peer Review/Ethics 24 Dentists Behaving BadlyCapitol. MDA Services 26 By James Cantwil, DDS Officite Explores the New Patient Journey in Free White Paper Journal Classifieds 52 Continuing Education 72 Advertiser Index 75 CIPipa michigan dental SPECIAL FEATURES d ASSOCIATION Back-to-School Infographic 11 News from the ADA 15 Helping You Succeed 12 CE Spotlight 72 Keeping Current 14 Your September 2017 MDA Journal will be mailed Aug. 31, 2017 Copyright C) 2017 Michigan Dental Association 2 JOURNAL OF THE MICHIGAN DENTAL ASSOCIATION AUGUST 2017 -1---;, :k.,tjk lot,--.;771.4, •..-74-' Avoiligew.-i---;
  12. 12. CI) SD Case 1:17-cv-00939 ECF No. 1-1 filed 10/26/17 PagelD.12 Page 4 of 4 V OJ TO' 5. Cro ft)NEWS FROM THE ADA ar. pi. ADA Patient Education Brochures Available in Money-Saving Bundle Cra m Great news! The ADA has selected its most essential patient education CD 0 a materials and combined them into one convenient kit for MDA/ADA member i Tti 13 etdental offices. The ADA Patient Education Kit .e. *.l:.w,. brings you 12 of the ADA's most popular ADA American CU 0.1_, i: patient education items at a savings of $140 Dentalcompared to purchasing the products o w separately. Association® -h r LA., Included are a chairside instructor book, a America's leading m ic,,,, 4 sturdy brochure rack, and 50 each of the advocate for oral health a) .7-'1.V.'-',, ADA brochures, including Root Canal Treatment; Tooth Extraction; Periodontal -1 Disease: Don't Wait 'til It Hurts; Why Do I Need a Crown?; Your Child's Teeth; 21..... Periodontal Maintenance; Why Doesn't' My Insurance Pay for This?; Dental Sealants; Three Tooth Replacement Options; and Your Smile: An Owner's 0*. Manual.. '4:-. fro The member price is $274.95 (non-members pay $412.45). Order the ADA -.1.. n z -I -0 :1:1 0 rt, -0 11:0 zr-,Patient Education Kit by calling 800-947-4746, or visit adacatalog.org to order ci.) (1) C7 —I, Z your ADA Patient Education Kit online.,74-- R. Iv co .1-: CD ..3. m•a agari) 3 CL 0 ..7--, r..FY' -0, MDA Probes SmileDirectClub n7 8 (D= 2 .4) 0 co TiAs previously reported, the MDA is aware of out-of-state companies a 0 IT Rh, sr I CD performing orthodontia-type services through mail-ordered, self-administered c ca. (12, 2.z. eL (D impression kits and retainers. This method of providing diagnosis and 0 ..v, 0 0 treatment raises numerous legal and patient safety concerns. The MDA is v) -1, ..:11) -).-f0 v) 3 -0making efforts to assure that the citizens of Michigan are receiving care that a meets the required standard of dental practice. 11)-. 1 ZOne of the companies that has been brought to the MDA's attention is SmileDirectClub you may have seen its advertisements on television or X social media. According to its website, this company mails customers a self- 5 administered impression kit followed by a series of teeth-straightening rt retainers. It does not appear from the website that a dentist ever sees the .A;.‘,.-7-..„.;',71., le D patient. Nor does the website identify a Michigan dentist(s) who diagnoses, ri_i:;As r--...-.-*: MP* prepares a treatment plan, or issues, retrains and prepares the work AO authorizations that are required of dentists practicing in accordance with Michigan law. To address these concerns the MDA has sent a letter to SmileDirectClub asking it to respond to questions to determine whether it is complying with ----1 Michigan law. The company responded with unsupported representations that it was in compliance, but refused to identify Michigan dentists involved 1 or to provide substantiation of any kind. If you know of any patients who have been harmed by or who are dissatisfied with their experience with SmileDirectClub or similar companies,,, and who are willing to speak to a representative of the MDA, please contact 1-.-.4- Josh Kluzak, manager of government and insurance affairs, at jkluzak@ michigandental.org, or call him at 800-589-2632, ext. 422. n,. JOURNAL OF THE MICHIGAN DENTAL ASSOCIATION AUGUST 2017 15

×