Tennessee dentist sued for improper sterilization files for dismissal of $50M case

Attorneys are asking a judge to dismiss a $50 million proposed class-action lawsuit against Knoxville, Tenn.-based Clarence "Buzz" Nabers, DDS, who allegedly exposed thousands of patients to infectious diseases, according to USA Today affiliate Knox News.

Last year, a state investigation found Dr. Nabers and his staff improperly sterilized dental equipment at his two offices. Dr. Nabers also admitted to forging documents and having hygienists perform procedures reserved for dentists in 2018. One hygienist filed a separate lawsuit against the dentist in October 2019, claiming she was forced out of her job after refusing to perform work she wasn't licensed to do.

Dr. Nabers was fined $11,000 and his license was put on probation. After the investigation, the dentist sent letters to 8,000 patients treated from Sept. 15, 2016, to Sept. 15, 2019, recommending they be tested for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

After attorneys Troy Bowlin and Mark Stephens filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against Dr. Nabers' practice, they dropped the suit and refiled it March 20 with an additional plaintiff's name. The attorneys are now suing Dr. Nabers for medical battery, negligent infliction of emotional distress and negligence.

In a May 11 motion, Dr. Nabers' attorneys claimed the dentist wasn't properly served with the complaints or the voluntary dismissal, so the case should be dismissed due to a one-year statute of limitations. They also said the proposed class — all his patients over three years — is too large and ill-defined.

Mr. Bowlin wouldn't tell Knox News why the initial complaint was dropped and refiled. He also did not say whether any patients have claimed they contracted a disease from Dr. Nabers' dental practice.

Dr. Nabers was treating a patient May 26 and did not immediately respond to Knox News' request for comment.

More articles on dental:
CDC updates guidelines for dental offices resuming care
Surcharges necessary to cover PPE costs, Texas dentists say
Ohio dental office data breach affects over 14,400 patients

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