A Texas dentist has been ordered to pay $4.6 million in punitive damages to a former patient who sued him over flossing her teeth.
Dr. David A. Richey of Austin sued in January after the woman sued after discovering that he used the floss to fix her cavities.
Ritchy claimed he had “misappropriated” the practice of floss and that she was “irreparably harmed” because of the procedure.
The case was settled in April for an undisclosed amount, according to court records.
Richey said in a statement he has never used floss, but he said he was “taken by surprise” when the lawsuit was filed and felt compelled to pay the woman.
“I never thought it would be a matter of years or decades until I was faced with the reality that I was a defendant in this matter,” Richeys attorney, Michael G. Cascio, said in an email.
“The fact that I will be the one paying the damages speaks volumes about the seriousness of the case.
This is an outrageous case and will not be settled out of court.”
In a statement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas said it “has taken seriously the allegations made in this case, and will continue to vigorously pursue all necessary and appropriate remedies.”