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Aspen Dental Class Action Lawsuit
By Matt O'Donnell
Aspen Dental, one of the nation’s largest corporate-dental chains, has been hit with a class action lawsuit accusing it of illegally owning and operating dental practices and of deceiving patients with aggressive sales pitches for expensive treatments after they’ve been lured in with promises of free exams and X-rays. Aspen Dental owns and controls 358 clinics across the country and markets to low-income patients that can’t afford dental care. The Aspen Dental class action lawsuit was filed following a June 2012 report by PBS FRONTLINE and the Center for Public Integrity titled “Dollars and Dentists” that uncovered Aspen Dental’s practice of servicing patients who can’t afford a dentist and then allegedly locking them into debt. Some patients in the report also alleged they were overcharged and given unnecessary treatments.
The Aspen Dental class action lawsuit was filed October 18, 2012 by 11 patients across the country who accuse the company of violating laws in 22 states that require clinics to be owned by dentists actively performing procedures onsite. The laws are designed to prevent business interests from overshadowing those of patients.
Aspen Dental said Friday that the accusations in the class action lawsuit “are entirely without merit,” and that it provides support services to dental offices owned by local dentists.
“The dentists and staff at Aspen Dental offices around the U.S. provide access to high quality, affordable dental care for millions of patients,” the Syracuse-based company said. “Their singular commitment is to do what’s right for their patients.”
However, attorneys for the Plaintiffs say in the class action lawsuit that Aspen Dental trains the dentists and sets production goals for them, and accuse the company of illegally practicing medicine. They are seeking class-action status to cover potentially tens of thousands of current and former patients.
In 2010, Aspen Dental reached a $175,000 settlement with the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office over misleading information about discounts, consultations, financing and other promotions.
Plaintiffs in the Aspen Dental Class Action Lawsuit are represented by attorneys Brian Cohen and Jeffrey Norton.
Updated October 22nd, 2012
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