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Beegan v. Schmidt

Maine Supreme Judicial Court
451 A.2d 642 (1982)


Facts

Beatrice M. Beegan (plaintiff) was a patient of James L. Schmidt (defendant), a dentist. Beegan began seeing Schmidt in 1975 for restoration work on some of her teeth to avoid a root canal. Schmidt worked on her teeth through 1976. In late 1977, Beegan began to have pain and headaches, for which she saw other dentists, who told her that Schmidt had not restored her teeth and that she now needed a root canal. Beegan had to have a very expensive root canal, and she suffered other damages as a result. In September 1980, Beegan sued Schmidt in a Maine state court, asserting four malpractice claims against him. The court dismissed her claims, holding that they were filed outside the statute of limitations. In November 1981, shortly after the court dismissed her first suit against Schmidt, Beegan filed the current action against Schmidt, this time alleging two contract claims arising out of the same facts that were the basis of her malpractice claims. Beegan alleged that in 1975 she entered into an express contract with Schmidt for him to repair her teeth, that he did not do so, and that she suffered damages in the form of the root-canal surgery as well as other damages. Schmidt moved to dismiss Beegan’s complaint, arguing that res judicata precluded her complaint. The trial court granted the motion to dismiss. Beegan appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (McKusick, C.J.)

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