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Ex-Prisoner Sues Over Phony Jail Dentist

When Timothy Stanley, 32, was in the Marion County (FL) Jail in January, 1997, facing drug charges, he needed some dental work done. According to the jail's medical log, Sheriff Ken Ergle's "dentist", Illya Fitzgerald Hathorn, pulled one of Stanley's teeth. Now Stanley is suing the jail because Hathorn was not a licensed dentist.

Carrie Proctor, the sheriff's senior staff attorney, said Hathorn had attended dental school but didn't graduate. She said the quality of his work was never questioned. "This guy was a good dentist," she said.

Gainesville lawyer Horace Moore Sr. is representing Stanley, who is asking for $15,000 in damages. Moore said 37 other former jail detainees are prepared to join the suit if a judge certified it as a class action.

"A criminal background check would have shown that [Hathorn] had been convicted of doing this before," said Moore.

Hathorn, 30, began working at the jail on September 27, 1996, as an employee of Correctional Medical Services (CMS), which had a contract to provide medical services to the jail.

Sheriff Ergle cancelled the CMS contract on January 1, 1997, and began hiring his own medical staff, including Hathorn.

Medical logs show that Hathorn treated 115 prisoners while employed by the jail and more than 1,000 prisoners in all.

On January 27, 1997, Hathorn was arrested in Ocala, Florida, on shoplifting charges, and detectives began looking into his background. They quickly discovered that Hathorn had been convicted in Tallahassee in 1996 for practicing dentistry without a license and that Georgia authorities were investigating him for the same thing.

A similar lawsuit was filed in February, 1998, against another of Hathorn's former employers, Ocala dentist Terry Braun, doing business as Ocala Dental Care. Two former patients accused Braun of violating the Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act and failing to verify Hathorn's credentials. That lawsuit also names CMS as a defendant.

Source: Associated Press [undated clipping from a PLN reader. Please keep the clippings coming, but be sure to include both the name and date of the publication]

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