HOUSTON – A state district court jury in Houston has awarded $95.5 million to the family of a four-year-old Houston girl left irreversibly brain damaged after a dentist improperly restrained and sedated her during treatment of decayed teeth, according to the family’s attorney James R. Moriarty and co-counsel.
After a three-day trial, the jury found that former dentist Bethaniel Jefferson was negligent in her treatment of Nevaeh Hall, who suffered drug-induced seizures and oxygen deprivation at the Diamond Dental Practice in January 2016.
The girl’s parents, Courissa Clark and Derrick Hall, alleged that Jefferson physically restrained the girl, negligently medicated her, and kept the girl away from her mother after she began having seizures.
Nevaeh, now 10 years old, is conscious, but can no longer see, speak, walk or eat on her own, her family testified in the trial. She requires 24-hour medical care.
“Nevaeh’s family is grateful for the service and attention of the jury,” Moriarty said. “They hope that this verdict will help prevent other families from suffering preventable tragedies like this one.”
The family is represented by attorneys Katherine McCredy and Andrew Sullo, of Sullo & Sullo, in Houston; Ryan Skiver, of The Skiver Law Firm, in Phoenix, Ariz.; and Moriarty.
“The evidence in trial was heartbreaking,” Skiver said. “A 30-pound girl, little more than a toddler, was physically and chemically suffocated by an out-of-control, financially motivated dentist.”
In November 2016, the Texas Dental Board revoked Jefferson’s medical license. In 2017, Jefferson was indicted by a Harris County grand jury on charges of intentionally and knowingly by omission causing serious bodily injury to a child by failing to seek and provide adequate medical attention. Jefferson also had been reprimanded for other incidents by the Texas Dental Board in 2005 and 2012.
“Nevaeh’s parents, Courissa and Derrick, courageously fought for justice,” McCredy said. “From the beginning of this nightmare to now, they have urged regulators, law enforcement and elected officials to help clean up the dental industry.”
“This terrible incident was the consequence of the epidemic of overtreating children at corporate-owned Medicaid clinics managed to maximize profits. Nevaeh was one of many child victims of rotten dentists like Bethaniel Jefferson,” Moriarty said.