Dentist sues 2 partners, seeks damages Dispute involves debts, back taxes GLEN BURNIE

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 on Dec. 31.

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

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

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

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

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 the bills because his partners removed his name from the signature list of the company's bank accounts.

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

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

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

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

The new suit is the third 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 with the state Court of Special Appeals.

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

Drs. Miller and Jacobson sued Dr. Parran in October 1991 for $1.1 million in damages, records say. The suit contends 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 first case, records say. The suit is scheduled for trial on March 2.

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

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