Dentist severs nerve during tooth extraction. $750,000 in non-economic damages. Orange County.


Oral surgeon removing an impacted tooth severs a nerve, causing permanent injury.

The Case

  • Case Name: Ceja v. Choi
  • Court and Case Number: Orange County Court / 30-2015-00803515-CU-MM-CJC
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Tuesday, June 27, 2017
  • Date Action was Filed: Monday, August 10, 2015
  • Type of Case: Dental Malpractice
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Gregory Lewis
  • Plaintiffs:
    Veronica Ceja, 38, house cleaner.
  • Defendants:
    John Choi, DDS
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $751,295
  • Net Verdict or Award: MICRA reduction pending.
  • Economic Damages:


  • Non-Economic Damages:


  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 9 days.
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 1 day.
  • Jury Polls: 10-2 on violation of the standard of care, 10-2 on causation, 11-1 on the damages, 12-0 denying the punitive damages.
  • Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Motion for costs.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Commerce Law Group by Sassan Mackay, Anaheim Hills.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Neil Dymott by Clark Hudson, San Diego.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Gary Wyatt, DDS, Newport Beach.

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Alan Shelhamer, DDS, Carlsbad.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Plaintiff had an impacted tooth that required extraction. The extraction was done on March 13, 2015 by defendant oral surgeon. In the process of extraction the oral surgeon severed plaintiff's inferior alveolar nerve. As a result, plaintiff experiences permanent numbness in her lower lip and chin.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    Lack of informed consent and negligent surgery.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Consent to surgery and no breach of standard of care.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    The inferior alveolar nerve was damaged, causing permanent numbness to plaintiff's right lower lip and chin. 

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $1,295

Demands and Offers

  • Defendant §998 Offer: $100,000 (11 days prior to trial).