Alireza Panahpour, D.D. S. Loses Another Malpractice Suit (2018)

Stephen Barrett, M.D.
July 10, 2018

In 2015, Alireza Panahpour, D.D.S.,was sued by Amy Starr. The complaint (shown below) alleged that:

  • After referral from Dietrich Klinghardt, M.D., Panahpour performed several “cavitation” operation, during one of which he negligently severed a nerve to her lower left jaw, resulting in permanent numbness to the areas of her jaw that the nerve supplies.
  • Ms. Starr consented to the operation because she was told that she had areas of infection in her jaw. However, a panoramic x-ray actually showed no infection in her mouth or teeth.

Klinghardt was subsequently dismissed as a defendant, but the case against Panahpour went to binding arbitration. In 2018, the arbitrator awarded Ms. Starr $450,000 plus $21,975 for costs. Panahpour is part of a small network of practitioners who are prone to diagnose and “treat” nonexistent jaw problems they call “cavitations.” He has been sued for fraud and/or malpractice at least eleven times. In 2018, the Washington Dental Quality Assurance Commission charged him with unprofessional conduct in his treatment of a patient. The complaint does not name the patient, but it is clear from the description that it was Ms. Starr. Quackwatch has published s comprehensive report on Panahpour’s background and activities.







NO. 15-2-03839-7


Plaintiff Amy Starr, alleges as follows:

I. Parties

1.1 Plaintiff, Amy Starr, is a resident of the state of Washington. At all times material hereto, plaintiff resided in King County, Washington.

1.2 Defendant Alireza Panahpour is believed to be a resident of the state of Washington. At all times material hereto, defendant Dr. Panahpour was practicing dentistry in King County, Washington. Defendant Dr. Panahpour treated plaintiff as a patient beginning in 2012.

1.3 Defendant Dietrich Klinghardt is believed to be a resident of the state of Washington. At all times material hereto, defendant Dr. Klinghardt was practicing medicine in King County, Washington. Defendant Dr. Klinghardt treated plaintiff as a patient beginning in 2012.

II. Jurisdiction

2.1 This Court has jurisdiction over plaintiffs claims and venue is proper in King County Superior Court.

III. Facts

3.1 Beginning in January 2012 and continuing through February 2013, Ms. Starr presented at defendant Dr. Klinghardt’ s office for medical treatment. Dr. Klinghardt ordered a panoramic x-ray of Ms. Starr’ s mouth and teeth and, based on his negligent review of that x-ray, Dr. Klinghardt told Ms. Starr that the x-ray showed signs of infection in Ms. Starr’s jaw and recommended cavitation surgery. Dr. Klinghardt referred Ms. Starr to defendant Dr. Panahpour for cavitation surgery.

3.2 Ms. Starr underwent cavitation surgery with defendant Dr. Panahpour in June, July and August of 2012. While performing cavitation surgery on Ms. Starr’ s lower left jaw, Dr. Panahpour negligently injured Ms. Starr’s inferior alveolar nerve. As a result of defendant’s negligence, Ms. Starr suffered left inferior alveolar nerve anesthesia.

3.3 Pursuant to RCW 7.70A et seq., Ms. Starr elects to submit this dispute to arbitration.

IV. Negligence

4.1 In their treatment of Ms. Starr, defendants failed to exercise that degree of care, skill and learning expected of reasonably prudent physicians, dentists and oral surgeons in the state of Washington acting in the same or similar circumstances. Defendants’ failure to adhere to the standard of care was a proximate cause of Ms. Starr’s permanent injuries.

V. Informed Consent

5.1 Defendants and their employees, agents or apparent agents failed to obtain Ms. Starr’s informed consent before recommending and performing cavitation surgery on Ms. Starr’s jaw and mouth. Ms. Starr should have been informed that the panoramic x-ray of her mouth and teeth did not show any signs of infection in her jaw. Ms. Starr would not have consented to cavitation surgery had she been informed that the panoramic x-ray did not show any signs of infection.

VI. Damages

Starr sustained severe and permanent injuries and is entitled to recover damages, including but not limited to the following: past and future medical and related expenses, past and future earnings loss, past and future pain, suffering, disability, disfigurement, and past and future loss of enjoyment of life.

WHEREFORE, plaintiff prays for the judgment against defendant for:

  1. General and specific damages in amounts to be proven at the time of trial;
  2. For plaintiffs reasonable costs and attorney’s fees; and
  3. For such other and further relief as the Court deems just and proper.

DATED this 18th day of February, 2015.


Ann H. Rosato, WSBA No. 32888
Tomas A. Gahan, WSBA No. 32779
Attorneys for Plaintiff

This page was posted on July 10, 2018.