Jury awards $197K for 'horse' teeth

By DANIEL TEPFER Staff writer, Connecticut Post

Updated: 12/25/2008 11:05:19 PM EST

BRIDGEPORT — A dentist promised a local woman he would give her a “celebrity smile,” but instead gave her a bite only a horse could love, she claimed in a lawsuit.

A Superior Court jury apparently agreed with her and on Monday awarded Marvalyn Foster nearly $200,000.

The jury deliberated less than two hours before returning the verdict of $196,880.50 against Darren Martinez, a Stamford dentist.

“The jury rejected the doctor’s claim that he could have committed malpractice without having harmed Marvalyn. Although I appreciated that the doctor stepped up and admitted he had made mistakes, the plain fact was that his neglect cost my client her smile. She now faces two to five years of expensive dental treatment to give her what he had promised her — a beautiful smile,” said Foster’s lawyer, Richard T. Meehan Jr.

Meehan said his 44-year-old client, who had just passed the exam to get a real estate license, went to Martinez after seeing an ad for his dental services in a phone book. She wanted a permanent bridge to replace a false tooth, the lawyer said.

“He told her he could give her a big, beautiful Hollywood celebrity smile by making a bridge from canine to canine, but when he finished the procedure she was shocked to see her three teeth on the tray next to the dental chair,” Meehan said.

He claimed that one bridge Martinez had made for his client resembled horse teeth.

Martinez’s lawyer, Bruce Gilpatrick, of Stamford, could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

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