Dentist in Denial

Sometimes you just need to know when to fold ‘em.

In a 1963 divorce case, the wife accused the husband–a dentist–of adultery with several of his patients. The husband vigorously contested the allegations. Fifteen hundred pages of testimony later, the case made it to the New Jersey Superior Court, which had to decide whether the evidence proved adultery.

The husband had creative explanations for every bit of damning evidence. For example, when the wife produced a film she found of the husband inserting a speculum into a nude patient in his office, he said he was conducting medical research. Remember, he’s a dentist.

On another charge, the wife claimed she came into the husband’s office one day to find him having sex on his dental couch with a nude patient identified in the case as “Mrs. G.” The husband denied having sex with Mrs. G. He said he was merely carrying her to the couch because of her sudden loss of consciousness while he was removing a denture. (No explanation as to why she was nude.)

He maintained his denial even in the face of a diary entry he made on the same date with reference to Mrs. G that said “[C]aught!” He explained that this was actually a medical entry meaning that the denture “caught” in Mrs. G’s mouth tissue while he was removing it.

The opinion is jammed with other elaborate, laughable denials that make for some interesting reading.

Lowenstein v. Lowenstein, 190 A.2d 882 (N.J. Super. Ct. 1963). Thanks to Seymour Margulies.

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Andrew Jay McClurg is a law professor whose teaching and research interests include tort law, products liability, legal education, privacy law and firearms policy. He holds the Herbert Herff Chair of Excellence in Law at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
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