Dentist sues 2 partners Suit claims threat to his livelihood

January 13, 1993|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer

A Columbia dentist is suing his partners, contending that they have left him with the brunt of their practice's debts, including an unpaid loan, back taxes and other bills.

Dr. Joel Parran is seeking unspecified damages from Dr. Paul Miller and Dr. Robert Jacobson, according to a suit filed in Howard Circuit Court.

Dr. Parran claims in the suit that his partners took more than their share of salaries and benefits, while saddling him with malpractice insurance, bills and other expenses.

"Each of the alleged acts was committed by the defendants maliciously and willfully . . . to jeopardize the plaintiff's livelihood," the suit states.

Dr. Parran, who has been a dentist for 23 years, declined to discuss details of the case. Drs. Miller and Jacobson did not return telephone calls to their office.

Drs. Miller and Jacobson work at a practice at the Harundale Mall in Glen Burnie. The partnership's office in the 10000 block of Governor Warfield Parkway closed in October.

Dr. Parran contends that his partners "relegated" him to the Columbia office and denied him access to the partnership's Glen Burnie practice, the suit states.

In the suit, Dr. Parran also alleges that his partners:

* Neglected to pay county, state and federal taxes for the Columbia office, prompting government agencies to sue the partners. The partners owe about $44,000 in unpaid taxes, from between 1985 and 1990.

* Refused to pay their share of a $210,000 loan from the First National Bank of Maryland to remodel and furnish the Columbia practice.

* Failed to pay bills for dental supplies, prompting creditors to file suit against the partnership. Dr. Parran was unable to pay bills because his partners removed his name from the signature list for the company's bank accounts.

In 1980, the dentists formed a partnership that operated as Miller, Parran and Jacobson in Glen Burnie, the suit states. In 1983, the dentists formed a second corporation, called Parran, Jacobson and Miller, to operate a dental office in Howard County.

As part of the partnership, the dentists agreed not to establish any independent offices that would compete with their company's branches, the suit states.

But Dr. Jacobson has opened his own office along Harford Road in Baltimore, the suit states. Dr. Parran says in the suit that he believes Dr. Miller is about to open his own practice as well.

Circuit Judge Cornelius Sybert Jr. denied a request from Dr. Parran for an injunction ordering Dr. Jacobson to close the Baltimore office last February, records say.

The new case marks the third suit among the partners, according to court records.

In May 1991, a jury awarded Dr. Parran $84,100 in damages after he filed suit over the unpaid loan at First National Bank, records say. The case is now on appeal to the state Court of Special Appeals.

But the jurors found no evidence showing that the partners had agreed to receive equal salaries and benefits, records state. The jury also said it did not believe there was a conspiracy to violate Dr. Parran's rights in the partnership agreement.

Dr. Miller and Dr. Jacobson sued Dr. Parran in October 1991 for $1.1 million in damages, records state. The suit contends that Dr. Parran is responsible for the bank loan because he took over the management of the Columbia office.

Dr. Parran has asked the court to dismiss the suit, asserting that it was filed to "undermine" the verdict in the initial case, records state. The suit is scheduled for trial March 2.

In the new case, Dr. Parran is asking the court to allow a jury determine the amount of punitive and compensatory damages he should receive. No hearing dates have been scheduled for the case.

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