A dentist who implanted temporary fake boar tusks into his assistant’s mouth as a joke has won his case against an insurance firm which had refused to pay out after he was sued over the incident.
Dr Woo, of Auburn, Washington, had put in the false tusks while the woman, Tina Alberts, was under anaesthesia for a dental procedure. He took them out before she awoke, but first took photos that eventually made it around the office.
Ms Alberts, felt so humiliated when she saw the pictures that she resigned and sued her boss.
Dr Woo’s insurance company, Fireman’s Fund, refused to cover the claim, saying the joke was intentional and not a normal business activity covered by his policy, so Dr Woo settled out of court. He agreed to pay Ms Alberts £125,000 and then sued his insurers.
And a Washington supreme court ordered the insurer to pay him a total of $1m (£490,000) after deciding the prank was ‘an integral, if odd, part of the assistant’s dental surgery and conceivably should trigger the professional liability coverage of his policy’.