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Court holds that patient's detailed letter to dentist was adequate Notice of Intent

Rodney Hanna sued dentist Dario Merlos, D.D.S., alleging that he was negligent in placing the wrong sized crown on one tooth and in failing to perform root canals on two abcessed teeth.  Hanna sent a very detailed letter of complaint to Merlos, where he described what the subsequent dentists claimed was malpractice, however, he did not explain in his letter precisely what damages were caused by the defendant's breach of the standard of care.  On that basis, the dentist's insurer sought dismissal of Hanna's claim.  The insurer was arguing that the detailed letter, if it was an NOI, was inadequate but caused the waiting period to run, while simultaneously arguing that the plaintiff did not wait long enough after the subsequent formal NOI was filed, before filing suit.

The Court of Appeals unanimously held that while Hanna's extensive and detailed letter was not as precise as it should have been in alleging damages, it was clearly prepared in good faith and was more than adequate to inform Merlos of Hanna's criticisms. On that basis, in the "interest of justice," the Court held that the letter sufficed to meet the requirements of a Notice of Intent.
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