Florida university to pay $5.5M to settle lawsuit over unsterile dental tools

Davie, Fla.-based Nova Southeastern University will pay $5.5 million to settle a class-action lawsuit after students at its post-graduate orthodontic clinic used improperly sterilized equipment, the Florida Bulldog reported March 24.

The university sent a letter in 2018 notifying more than 1,000 affected patients, most of whom were children seen at the clinic between July 2015 and February 2018.

"Instead of the called-for complete heat sterilization process, equipment received a surface disinfectant wipe," a spokesperson for the university said in a statement to ABC affiliate WPLG at the time.

Patients affected were notified that they were potentially exposed to viral infections and disease. While no patients fell ill, they suffered "emotional distress" after receiving the letter, the lawsuit says, according to the Florida Bulldog.

The university will now pay $3,000 each to the 1,152 members of the class-action lawsuit. An additional 29 plaintiffs who were consolidated from other cases will be paid $2,000 each. Tiffany Aguero, the lead plaintiff, whose daughter was a patient at the clinic, will receive $12,000.

More than $1.5 million in attorney fees and other costs are also part of the settlement.

The settlement includes no admission of wrongdoing by Nova Southeastern University.

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