Professional liability insurer has duty to defend dentist who played practical joke on patient.

March 22, 2011

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217 InsuranceDentist’s liability for playing practical joke on patient/employee under anesthesia by inserting boar tusks in mouth, photographing her, removing the tusk flippers, and inserting temporary partial bridges was conceivably within coverage of professional liability policy, and, thus, insurer owed duty to defend; even if the dentist’s actions were outside statutory definition of practice of dentistry as diagnosis or treatment, the definition included ownership, maintenance, or operation of office for the practice of dentistry, and the joke involved interaction with employee, was intertwined with dental practice, and was integrated into and inseparable from the overall procedure.
Woo v. Fireman’s Fund Ins. Co., 164 P.3d 454 (Wash. 2007)

Suggested by Robert P. Knapp III; Attorney; Mulholland & Knapp, LLP; New York, NY