$10M Awarded: Malpractice Attorney Daphne Withrow and Trial Partners Secure ‘Highest Verdict’ for Dental Malpractice Case in Georgia

Hilton Head Island Medical Malpractice attorney, Daphne Withrow, of Olivetti, McCray and Withrow, along with Daniel J. Moriarty of Moriarty Personal Injury Lawyer and C. Andrew Childers of Childers, Schlueter & Smith, secured a $10 million jury medical malpractice verdict for a Georgia woman permanently injured  during a root canal procedure.

The eight-figure verdict left defense counsel “very surprised by the amount.” Plaintiff counsel credit the victory to their ability  to tell a good simple story with impactful testimony and evidence.

The plaintiff,  Joyce M. Crawford of Henry County, Georgia, went to Dental Care Center of Decatur for root canal surgery. The surgery left her with lingering pain in her left cheek, chin and lip. Plaintiff counsel allege defendant Dr. Lynn A. Livingston’s failure to remove filling material from their client’s root canal amounted to negligence and breached a standard of care that resulted in subsequent life-altering nerve damage.

“Dr. Livingston’s negligence resulted in over instrumentation as well as chemical seepage into Plaintiffs’ inferior alveolar nerve below tooth 18, which caused a near total discontinuity of that nerve and permanent paresthesia and pain the the left lower section of her face,” per the plaintiff brief.

“She developed trigeminal neuralgia, which is a painful condition,” said Withrow who is a registered nurse as well as a medical malpractice attorney. “Ordinary things like brushing your teeth and drinking cool water cases a bolt of pain similar to electrical shock. This is a chronic condition for which Joyce will require pain management for the remainder of her life.”


Five months after the defendant’s insurance company turned down a policy limit demand, the medical-malpractice case proceeded to trial before a DeKalb County State jury. Plaintiff counsel presented a case that showed the client’s surgery had been too complex for the general dentist to  conduct. The case should have been referred to an endodontist due to the complexity of the root canal.

In addition, the defendant breached the standard of care by failing to properly assess the need for the root canal, and then failing to use a rubber dam during the procedure. In support of their negligence complaint, plaintiff’s counsel presented evidence of an X-ray to the jury that showed the root canal material surrounding her inferior alveolar nerve.

Counselors credit the plaintiff for authentic testimony about her painful experience and its lingering effects. Her testimony contrasted that of the defendant. The jurors likely picked up on inconsistencies between the dentist’s deposition and trial testimony.

By sticking to their trial strategy of telling a simple and direct, yet impactful story, plaintiff’s counsel said they argued their entire case in a day. The strategy paid off for the team returning a $10 million verdict in favor of the plaintiff.

Daphne S. Withrow RN