The Affordable Dentures & Implants office on Williston Road in South Burlington closed its doors in February. In a March interview, Andrew Gray of Waterbury described his experience as a patient there by saying, “you know, it’s hard to eat without teeth.”
Attorney Andrew Delaney of Barre City said Friday that he’s familiar with Gray’s account.
“Yeah,” he said. “I mean, we did see that there was somebody who had had almost — not quite, but almost — the same thing happen.”
Delaney represents another patient, Christian Placey of North Ferrisburgh. Placey is suing the office. The last dentist to practice there — Dr. Stephen Bench of Hinesburg — is named as an additional defendant. Affordable Care, LLC; the parent company of Affordable Dentures, is also named.
“Right now, we just have the one client — that’s Christian Placey,” Delaney said. “But we did file it as a class action because we believe there are a great number of people who are affected by this. We’ve talked with quite a few people, and that’s one of the reasons why we expect it’s a large class.”
The class-action suit filed in Chittenden County Superior Court accuses the defendants of four things. The complaint alleges violation of the Vermont Consumer Protection Act, breach of contract, dental negligence and negligent supervision.
“At this point, we’ve just filed the complaint,” Delaney said. “We haven’t proven anything in court, and the defendants are entitled to their day in court. I just want to make that clear.”
Affordable Care’s corporate offices are in Kinston, North Carolina. A spokesperson for Affordable Care who didn’t provide their name writes:
“Dr. Bench suddenly shuttered his dental practice in breach of his agreement with us, and we are dismayed that he has violated his professional obligation to ensure his patients receive continued care. Affordable Care does not own or operate any dental practices, including that of Dr. Bench; it provides back-office support services to dentists in private practice who hire us to do so. Even though Dr. Bench shuttered his practice, Affordable Care has been committed to assisting Dr. Bench’s patients who were abandoned mid-treatment. We have worked with Dr. Bench’s patients who have contacted us to ensure they receive support and continued care. If other patients who have been treated by Dr. Bench have current needs, we encourage them to call (252) 624-0948. We are taking legal action against Dr. Bench relating to his actions, and we are reviewing our screening procedures for the professionals who hire us to provide their back-office services.”