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Western Dental Accused of Insurance Fraud

HEARD ON THE BEAT / HEALTH CARE

August 13, 1997|BARBARA MARSH

Here's another one for the file on Western Dental Services Inc.

In a suit filed last month in Orange County Superior Court, an orthodontist has accused the controversial Garden Grove-based operator of dental offices of wrongfully firing him for refusing to participate in insurance fraud.

Guy W. Mendivil, hired in February 1995 as an orthodontist in the company's Oceanside office, was promoted the following August to a management post, according to his suit. Other named defendants include: Western Dental's owner, Robert Beauchamp; and Thomas Maddox and Lucy Juarez, both managers.

Mendivil claims the defendants misrepresented the amount of services billed to an insurer. He seeks lost income and benefits, punitive damages and other relief.

Defendants haven't yet filed a formal response to Mendivil's claims. Their attorney, Robert Kane of Costa Mesa, says, "They are denying many of the important allegations," but wouldn't comment further.

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Barbara Marsh covers health care for The Times. She can be reached at (714) 966-7762 and at barbara.marsh@latimes.com

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