A Pittsburgh dentist has alleged in a civil lawsuit that a New Castle-based dental management firm has tarnished her reputation.
Dr. Susan McMahon, a cosmetic dentist who previously practiced at a Refresh Dental office on East Carson Street in Pittsburgh, has sued Refresh Dental Management LLC, Professional Dental Alliance LLC, North American Dental Management LLC, Dr. Andrew Matta and Brittany Davis.
The complaint was filed Feb. 16 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
According to the complaint, McMahon alleges that the defendants are “engaged in a bait and switch scheme” in which they are misleading dental patients at the Pittsburgh office into believing she still works at the office, though she was fired in September 2015.
She claims the defendants are luring her patients into their office and failing to tell them she no longer works there until they’re already seated in the dental chair.
Furthermore, the complaint says, the defendants had not removed a sign outside the business bearing her name until after the litigation was initiated, more than 160 days after she was fired.
Her name also was not removed from Refresh Dental materials distributed to patients, the complaint says.
Additionally, McMahon asserts that the defendant’s staff has made misrepresentations that have disparaged her reputation, including telling patients that she had a criminal protection from abuse order against her and that she retired as a cosmetic dentist to open a restaurant with her husband.
McMahon sold her dental practice to Refresh Dental Alliance in 2012, the complaint says, and she remained with the firm until she was terminated. The complaint alleges she was fired after repeatedly voicing concerns about the firm’s cost-cutting measures and the mistreatment of elderly patients to Matta and Dr. Chad Wise, who are both founding partners of the North American Dental Group, the management firm for Refresh Dental.
According to a statement from the North American Dental Group, the "organization believes that Dr. McMahon's recently filed lawsuit is reactionary and without any legal merit. We look forward to presenting a vigorous defense in protection of our reputation, our company and our valued employees."
Since she was fired, McMahon has been practicing dentistry in Moon Township, Allegheny County.
The complaint also says that Professional Dental Alliance initiated a lawsuit against McMahon in October 2015 in Mahoning County, Ohio, alleging breaches of contract in a non-competition agreement she signed with Professional Dental Alliance following her firing.
According to a statement from North American Dental Group, Dr. McMahon was ordered by the Ohio court in March to stop "operating a dental practice, treating patients or otherwise engaging in the practice of dentistry within a fifteen mile radius of the organization’s Pittsburgh-area practice, located on Carson Street.
"The organization intends to fully prosecute the matter so as to protect its legal rights and, ultimately, its reputation," the statement added.