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Motion Filed to Stay AGGA Lawsuits Over Dental Appliance Problems, Amid DOJ Criminal Investigation
The makers of a dental appliance linked to severe tooth and jaw damage, known as an Anterior Growth Guidance Appliance (AGGA), have asked a federal judge to place the litigation on hold, pending the results of a recently launched criminal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
The AGGA appliance involves a metal wire insert that is placed between the teeth, which is supposed to help remodel or expand an adult’s jaw, without the need of surgery. However, a growing number of reports have surfaced involving problems where the AGGA actually pushed the upper teeth out of their housing, resulting in tooth loss, gum damage, facial disfigurement, nerve problems and other dental complications, often resulting in the need for corrective surgery.
In recent months, a number of AGGA lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturers and developers of the dental appliance, including Steve Galella, D.D.S, OrthroMatrix Corp, and John’s Dental Laboratory, Inc., and the allegations have gotten the attention of media, federal regulators, and law enforcement agencies.
While AGGA was originally designed for children’s teeth and jaws, which are still growing, lawsuits over AGGA indicate the appliance can cause catastrophic injuries and dental complications for adults, and concerns have emerged that the dental appliance was never properly tested or approved.
Defendants Seek Stay on AGGA Lawsuits
Earlier this month, a joint motion to stay (PDF) was filed in at least four AGGA lawsuits pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, indicating that the cases should be put on hold while the U.S. Attorneys Office for the Western District of Tennessee and U.S. Justice Department conduct a criminal investigation concerning the events and allegations that are at the heart of the individual personal injury claims.
The defendants indicate that the DOJ investigation was launched to determine whether criminal charges will be brought against Dr. Steve Galella, D.D.S, OrthoMatrix, Corp. and John’s Dental, which are all named as defendants in the civil AGGA lawsuits
According to a memorandum (PDF) filed in support of the motion to stay, the defendants indicate that allowing the AGGA lawsuits to move forward through civil discovery could compromise the criminal investigation, indicating that it is in the public interest to pause the proceedings.
“Presently, the U.S. Attorneys Office and the Department of Justice are in the process of evaluating potential criminal charges against the Defendants in this matter based upon the identical facts alleged in the Complaint at issue,” according to the memorandum. “The investigations relate to Defendants involvement with the Anterior Growth Guided Appliance (AGGA), the dental appliance at issue in this case, specifically, Defendants’ alleged marketing of the appliance, purported role in disseminating information about the efficacy of the appliance and their alleged involvement with the fabrication of the appliance. The investigations and information sought by the government is, essentially, the same documents Plaintiffs’ counsel has requested from Defendants in ths instant matters (and other cases pending in New York, Nevada and Connecticut).”
In an opposition brief (PDF) filed on April 13, AGGA lawyers representing plaintiffs injured by the dental appliance maintain that the manufacturers’ arguments hold no merit. Plaintiffs point out that the criminal probe was sparked by the concerns publicly raised in AGGA lawsuits, and resulting media articles about the problems, and that production of discovery documents in the litigation should not be halted.
“Apparently, according to Defendants, the DOJ has seen enough of their conduct in regard to the product that is at the heart of this civil case, to believe that criminal charges may be warranted,” the brief states. “To blame Plaintiffs for that DOJ conclusion is absurd on its face.”
AGGA Dental Appliance Lawsuits
As the criminal investigation moves forward, AGGA injury lawyers intend to continue pursuing lawsuits for individuals nationwide, alleging that the dental appliance was negligently designed and that users were given false representations about the efficacy and safety. Settlements and financial compensation from an AGGA lawsuit payout may be available for individuals who received an AGGA treatment and suffered any of the following injuries;
- Loosing of upper teeth (anterior maxillary teeth)
- Tooth loss and/or damage
- Tooth or Jaw pain
- Flared teeth
- Gum Recession
- Tissue breakdown around tooth (Root Resorption)
- Tooth socket bone loss (Alveolar bone loss)
- Facial disfigurement
- Nerve damage
- Required corrective surgery
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MichaelJune 13, 2023 at 11:44 am
It is quite shocking how even following the American Dental Association's posting about concern with AGGA problems regional dental boards and even the CANADIAN Dental Association have kept this quiet. Seminars using devices that have concerns from the FDA should be flagged and dropped from being recognized for educational merit.
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