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Park Dental Doctor Group Settles Litigation With Service Provider

MINNEAPOLIS, Dec. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- The dental group that operates the Park Dental and Dental Specialists clinics in Minnesota announced today that it has settled litigation with its administrative service provider, American Dental Partners, Inc. (ADPI) and ADPI's Minnesota subsidiary, PDHC, Ltd.

On December 14, 2007, a Hennepin County Minnesota jury awarded the dental group, known as PDG, P.A., and Dental Specialists of Minnesota, P.A., more than $130 million -- $88 million in compensatory damages and $42 million in punitive damages. The lawsuit involved claims by the dental group that ADP and PDHC had overstepped their authority under Minnesota law and had improperly engaged in conduct constituting the practice of dentistry, which by law can only be carried out by licensed dentists. The case also involved claims that the service provider had violated various provisions of the parties' contract and had improperly interfered with efforts by the dental group to establish new practices separate from ADP.

Following the large jury verdict, the judge overseeing the case ordered the parties to mediation in an effort to resolve all outstanding issues between the parties. On December 26, the parties reached a settlement agreement. Under the settlement, which is contingent on approval by ADP's lenders, the Park Dental doctor group will take back ownership of most of the 31 Park Dental and Dental Specialists clinic spaces that had been owned by the service provider. The dental group is very pleased with the settlement, according to PDG President Dr. John Gulon. He said that a key objective of the doctor group was to reach a settlement that would protect patient interests. "Under the agreement we reached with ADP, Park Dental and The Dental Specialists doctors will continue to practice in their current locations and PDG, P.A. will continue to do business under the Park Dental name," Gulon stated. At a few locations, Park Dental will be relocating to new clinic spaces following a transition period. The dental group is glad to have the litigation behind it, according to Gulon. "All we ever wanted to do is provide top quality care to our patients in the way that the doctors -- not non-doctor administrators -- think is appropriate. Under the settlement, that is what we will be able to do," Gulon said. Dr. Alan Law, President of The Dental Specialists, echoed Gulon's remarks, stating that "we are grateful for the tremendous dedication of our doctors and their commitment to our patients throughout this process."

The dental group was represented in the litigation and the mediation efforts by the law firm of Anthony Ostlund & Baer. Joseph Anthony of that firm indicated that the mediation, which took nearly two weeks to complete, was a slow and painstaking process. "Ultimately, we were pleased to reach a settlement that meets our clients' objectives and allows the Park Dental doctors to continue to focus on the high level of care for which they have become known over the last 40 years."

SOURCE Anthony Ostlund & Baer
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