In October 2013, the New York Post reported on whistleblower litigation filed in federal court in Brooklyn, N.Y. The plaintiff in the lawsuit is the former office manager of a Brooklyn dentist who allegedly fired the plaintiff for raising issues of unethical and illegal behavior on the part of the employer like:
- Having an unlicensed dental hygiene student perform unsupervised dental work on hundreds of patients, including root canals and fillings.
- Having that staff person perform unneeded dental work.
- Having his wife sign the dentist in for continuing dental education classes that he did not attend.
- Billing Medicaid and private insurers for the unlicensed dental work.
Conduct such as that attributed to the dentist in the article in firing his employee for raising allegations of negligent and reckless dental practices, and fraudulent Medicaid and insurance claims could potentially be supported by several federal whistleblower protection laws, depending on the situation. For example, legal relief may be available for someone fired for reporting fraud against the government or for refusing to work in an unsafe environment, such as a dental office where unlicensed people handle dangerous chemicals, X-rays, equipment and bodily fluids of patients.
Consult an experienced litigator
Anyone who suspects that their employer is creating unsafe conditions at work or health hazards in general, engaging in fraud or other white collar crime, or in any other illegal behavior, and who is retaliated against for complaining or for taking steps to alert authorities, should consult an experienced litigation attorney to understand the options for legal remedies like a whistleblower lawsuit, employment law claim or other type of action.
The situation also raises separate issues of dental and medical malpractice claims available to injured patients under state law. In New York, a medical professional must adhere to the generally accepted standards of practice of others in his or her specialty. When deviation from those standards of practice causes injury, the victim may have a claim for medical malpractice. Damages may be available for past and future medical expenses, emotional distress and more.
Anyone who feels harmed by a doctor, dentist or other medical professional should also speak with a New York litigation attorney with medical malpractice experience about a potential lawsuit.
Any New Yorker with a legal dispute concerning injury, divorce, wrongful death, a dangerous product or drug, insurance, employment discrimination, trusts and estates or other matters should seek out an attorney who litigates such matters to analyze the situation for potential legal remedies, and explain the pros and cons of the available options.