Snodgrass-King Pediatric Dental Associates, P.C. and David J. Snodgrass, D.D.S., have won a major victory in a case arising out of the dental practice’s exclusion from participation in the TennCare dental program, which greatly limited the practice’s ability to provide care to low-income and special needs patients.
The case – which was filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee in 2014 and stemmed from a move by DentaQuest USA Insurance Company, TennCare’s dental program administrator, to exclude all Snodgrass-King providers from participation in the TennCare program – went to trial on Nov. 14, 2016. The case alleged that DentaQuest, as a state actor, violated Snodgrass-King’s First Amendment rights because its exclusion of the practice was done in retaliation for Dr. Snodgrass’s past public speech and conduct, which had been critical of the DentaQuest corporate family’s administration of the TennCare dental program.
After hearing six days of testimony, the jury began deliberations on Nov. 22, 2016. A few hours later, the jury awarded Snodgrass-King and Dr. Snodgrass a verdict of $22.2 million against DentaQuest – $7.4 million in compensatory damages and $14.8 million in punitive damages. Butler Snow trial attorneys Joe Welborn, Erin Palmer Polly, Bob Walker, and Beau Creson represented Snodgrass-King and Dr. Snodgrass in the case.
Snodgrass-King previously provided TennCare services through Delta Dental, the former program administrator, from 2010-2013. DentaQuest became the TennCare dental benefits administrator in late 2013.
As of today, Nov. 23, 2016, there are post-trial motions pending.