ADA settles students' lawsuit

2008 04 28 17 20 59 706

The ADA on April 25 settled a lawsuit brought by 13 University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) dental students accused of helping other students cheat on the National Board Dental Examination. Claiming innocence, the students had accused the ADA of violating their rights to due process.

"I think this is a good settlement that serves the interests of all parties and the public," said James Kosnett, the Los Angeles attorney representing the students.

ADA spokesman Fred Peterson confirmed the settlement but declined to comment. The two parties agreed to keep terms of the settlement confidential.

The ADA had charged the students, now in their fourth years at UCLA, with remembering questions from the test and passing them along on a CD for other candidates preparing for it, said Kosnett.

In the lawsuit, the students complained that the ADA's Joint Commission on Dental Examinations voided their 2006 passing scores on part I of the dental exam, and barred them from retaking the test until 2009. The penalty was stayed pending the outcome of the lawsuit.

The students say they were falsely accused, and that the ADA violated their rights to confront their accusers, see the evidence against them, and present evidence in their defense.

The penalties would have cost the students more than $1 million each by delaying their careers, said Kosnett. Now, the students will be able to continue their dental education, he said, but he declined to state whether they will suffer any penalty in the case. "In every settlement there is a compromise," he said.

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