Jury Awards $3.7M to Woman Molested by Dental Nurse Anesthetist

Greg Land , Daily Report

January 14, 2015

William Q. Bird John Disney/Daily Report

A Fulton County jury has ruled that a dental clinic must pay $3.7 million to a young woman who was sexually molested and sodomized by a nurse anesthetist at the clinic in 2009.

The nurse, Paul Serdula, is serving life in prison and was not a defendant in the suit. The jury did not apportion any blame to him, instead holding the dental practice, Goldstein Garber & Salama, 100 percent liable for the assault.

Plaintiffs attorney William Bird of the Bird Law Group said he had suggested in closing statements that the jury award $15 million. The jury took seven hours to return its verdict, said Bird, who represents the plaintiff, identified only as "J.B." in court filings, along with Houck Regas partner Michael Regas II and Atlanta solo Jennifer Auer Jordan.

William Q Bird

The victim's testimony was the strongest evidence in the case, said Bird.

"I'm very pleased for [J.B.]," said Regas. "She has received personal justice, and hopefully this will help her into the future." J.B. declined to speak to the Daily Report.

Hawkins Parnell Thackston & Young partner H. Lane Young, who defended the dental practice with firm partner Matthew Barr, indicated there would be an appeal. After the verdict was announced and the jury was ushered out of State Court Judge Jane Morrison's courtroom, Young told the judge he objected to the jury's finding of no blame against Serdula.

Under Georgia's apportionment statute, Young said, a jury must assign some portion of liability to anyone at fault.

"We believe, based on the evidence of the case, that there has to be some fault apportioned" to Serdula, said Young.

Had the jury apportioned a percentage of the blame to Serdula, the amount owed by the dental practice would be reduced by the same percentage.

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