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People Ex Rel. Ill. Dental Soc'y v. Norris





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. GEORGE J. SCHALLER, Judge, presiding.


This action was brought on June 27, 1977, by the People of the State of Illinois upon the relation of the Illinois State Dental Society (Society) and Robert L. Straub, John L. Manning, Thomas R. Case and Weston O. Olsen, individually and as officers and directors of the Society. The plaintiffs filed a petition for rule to show cause why the defendant, William L. Norris, individually and doing business as Pullman Dental Laboratory, should not be found guilty of contempt of court for having violated a permanent injunction which enjoined him from practicing dentistry as defined in section 5 of the dental practice act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1967, ch. 91, par. 60). The court, sitting without a jury, found the defendant guilty of contempt, sentenced him to 10 days' confinement in the Cook County jail and fined him $100.

On appeal the defendant raises the following issues: (1) whether the underlying 1968 injunction against the defendant lapsed before the plaintiff filed its petition for rule to show cause; (2) whether the defendant was proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the unauthorized practice of dentistry; (3) whether the trial court improperly failed to consider the defendant's affirmative defense; (4) whether the defendant's sentence was based on improper and unsubstantiated findings of fact; (5) whether the plaintiff introduced adequate evidence to substantiate its bill of costs; and (6) whether the defendant was improperly barred from taking the depositions of the individually named plaintiffs.

The writ of permanent injunction was issued on January 10, 1968, pursuant to a consent decree of injunction entered on December 29, 1967. The writ specifically prohibited the defendant from:

"(a) Engaging in the practice of dentistry without a license;

(b) Representing to the public by telephone directory listing, business card, sign, or any other means or media that you are able to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for deficiencies or physical conditions of any part of the human mouth;

(c) Managing, operating, conducting, or being proprietor of a place of business where dental operations are performed directly with the public, either under your individual name or under the name of a company or trade name;

(d) Performing dental operations of any kind directly for the general public, gratuitously or for a fee, gift, compensation or reward, paid or to be paid, either to yourself or to another person or agency;

(e) Offering or undertaking, by any means or method to diagnose or treat conditions of the human mouth, teeth or jaws;

(f) Taking impressions of the human tooth, teeth, or jaws or performing any phase of any operation incident to the replacement of a part of a tooth, a tooth, teeth or associated tissues, by means of a filling, a crown, a bridge, a denture or other appliance;

(g) Furnishing, supplying, constructing, reproducing or repairing, or offering to furnish, supply, construct, reproduce or repair prosthetic dentures (sometimes known as `plates'), bridges, or other substitutes for natural teeth, to the user or prospective user thereof;

(h) Performing any clinical operation included in the curricula of recognized dental schools and colleges;

(i) Practicing dentistry under the name of a company, corporation, association or trade name; and from otherwise practicing dentistry in any form; either directly or indirectly, or from holding yourself out as having the right to practice dentistry and from charging and collecting fees, commissions, wages, or payments in any form for any dental services whatsoever rendered or to be rendered by you or any other person in your behalf to the general public."

The plaintiffs' petition for rule to show cause alleged that the defendant had violated the 1968 injunction by the commission of certain acts on or about the dates of November 10, 15, 19, 1976, and December 3, 4, 11, 18, 1976. Attached to the petition were the affidavits of Ann Jankuski and Mary Jo Barnett, investigators paid by the Society.

Mary Jo Barnett testified on direct examination that she called the Pullman Dental Laboratory on November 3, 1976, for an appointment to have a denture made. She said she "believed" the defendant answered the phone and gave her an appointment for November 4, 1976. When she arrived for her appointment, she met the defendant and discussed the price of the services. She was taken into a small office in the lab and seated in a dental chair. Barnett said an impression of her mouth was taken by the defendant and Doctor Fischer, a dentist. She testified that Doctor Fischer examined her mouth and stated the bottom teeth had to be fixed and that the defendant said her lower plate "was pretty bad."

Barnett testified that on her second visit, which she thought to be November 7 or two days after her previous visit, the defendant placed a denture into her mouth and checked the fit. She then paid $90 in cash and was given a receipt. On November 19 Barnett said the defendant showed her into the office and put the dental plate into her mouth. She testified there was a "bad spot" in the plate which the defendant ground ...

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