A Philadelphia dental assistant has filed an assault and battery claim against a dentist who works at the same practice as the plaintiff, alleging the defendant squirted “contaminated” water from an irrigation syringe at the plaintiff during a routine procedure on a patient.

In her civil action, filed June 14 at Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court by attorney David M. Koller, Estherline Valmy-Guerrier claims that Judith C. Tuchman, a dentist practicing at Temple University’s Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry, “intentionally” pointed the syringe at the plaintiff, squirting water from the medical product onto Valmy-Guerrier’s face and neck.

The alleged incident occurred on May 26, 2011, during a routine dental procedure on a patient.

Because the syringe used during the procedure shared a surgical tray with other “contaminated” instruments used in the patient’s procedure, the lawsuit claims, the plaintiff has had to undergo continuous medical testing for disease and infection.

To date, the lawsuit claims, Valmy-Guerrier has had to attend about seven examinations to ensure and monitor her continued health.

The day after the alleged incident, Valmy-Guerrier notified an employee with Temple’s Office of Equal Opportunity Compliance what had occurred the day prior.

The plaintiff also contacted Temple Police about the incident, but to this day, no one who was made aware of the incident has taken any action to resolve the complaint, the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit names both Tuchman and Temple University as defendants.

The suit contains counts of assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent supervision.

For each of the counts listed in the complaint, the plaintiff seeks compensatory damages equal to her actual and real damages, punitive damages, attorney’s fees and other equitable and legal relief.

An arbitration hearing in the matter has been scheduled for late February of next year.


The case ID number is 120601770.


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