Patient Solicitation Root of Dental Clinic Lawsuit

The purchase of a Little Rock dental clinic has turned into a major toothache for its owner.

Dentist Montgomery D. Heathman of Little Rock said in his lawsuit filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court that problems started shortly after he bought Arkansas Family Dental P.A.’s location at 9200 Chicot Road in December for $271,000.

Heathman, who operates Interdisciplinary Dental Therapy P.A., submitted in evidence a letter that Arkansas Family Dental’s owners, dentists Tina Nichols and Samaria Mascagni, sent to the patients they treated at the Chicot Road location. It describes their new “state-of-the-art” office at 13600 David O. Dodd Road in Little Rock.

“These solicitation letters are followed by telephone calls and other efforts to steal patients,” Heathman said in the lawsuit. But the patient list was supposed to be included in the purchase of the clinic.

Heathman is suing for breach of contract and fraud and asked that a judge issue a temporary restraining order to prevent Arkansas Family Dental’s owners from soliciting Heathman’s patients.

As of Thursday, a judge hasn’t made a ruling on the request.

In court papers, Nichols and Mascagni denied doing anything wrong.

They also said the purchase agreement didn’t contain a non-compete agreement, a non-solicitation agreement “or any other similar provision that would prohibit [Nichols and Mascagni] from practicing, advertising or soliciting patients in Little Rock.”

Nichols and Mascagni “have done everything in their power to ensure the success of [Heathman’s] dental practice,” they said in the filings.