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Dr. Taft Sued For Slander

Dr. Taft Sued For Slander image
Parent Issue
Day
28
Month
August
Year
1891
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

Dr. Jonathan Taft, dean of the dental departnient, has a $50,000 slande.r suit on liis hands. The suit is brought by Dr. C. H. Land, a Detroit dentist, service having been made upon Dr. Taft Saturday night just as he was taking a boattothe '"Soo." The Evening News of the 17th inst. gives the following account of the controversy: In an interview with Dr. Land this forenoon, the"' doctor informed the News reporter that the immediate cause of the suit grew out of an answer to a letter of inquiry sent the professor, regarding a statement made by the latter before the senior dental class of the university. The letter of inquiry and the reply, as exhibited by the doctor to the News, read as follows: "By several of the student in the senior class of the university of Michigan," wrote the doctor, 'I have been made aware that you have publicly announced before the class that my methods were quackish. Am I correctly informed? If so, it will be no more than justice to expect from you an explanation, and upon what ground you expect to sustain so unkind an insinuation.' When Dr. Taft found it convenient to cali at my office, my whole aim and purpose inclined strictly to treat him as a gentleman, and I trust you may be able to place a different coiistruction on the rumor, so that I may always have utmost regard, etc." To this the dean made reply: "I do not know that I can give an explanation that will be satisfactory to you. I do not remember before the class to have referred to you as 'quackish.' In professional matters I have occasionally referred to your various inventions and methods of work. I may possibly have referred to your professional course as not in accord with the general views of others. I certainly have no personal feeling towards you that would induce me to utter anything that was not true about you. I have said, I think, as much and more in your presence in dental society meeting about your objectionable methods of advertising, than I ever said in your absence. You well know that I unqualifiedly condemn the extravagant method of advertising your modes of practice. not only in you but in every one who indulges in that kind or Ipfaetice. I have wished a hundred times that you abandon these unprofessional methods and place yourself upon a true professional basis. You have devised many ingenious and useful things that aught to be largely serviceable to you and to the profession; to these I have occasionally referred in the class. I thiuk you are honest in the views you entertain in regard to the matter, but that does not make right the practice. Can you not see your way to a change in this matter in such a way as to avoid the criticism and severe censure of dentists in your own state, and in others as wellV "I may repeat that I do not remember to have referred to you before the class as a class as a 'quack' or 'quackish' in your professional methods; if, tiowever, I had or did do so, it was in full accord with my conviction; but quackery is not the worst thing in the world that a man can engage in. You iave ability that ought to command a f ar higherdegree of respect and appreciation than is accorded you by the profession of your state, and I trust that in this respect ere long a needcd change may take place." In commenting on the above, Dr. Land said he had found sufficient grounds for the case against the dean tor his suit, in that he repeats in the letter what he has talked before the societies and the university class. "The exchange of these letters is what brought the complaint before the court," said the doctor, "I want to impress the public that I am ready to meet Dr. T aft before a court of law to test whether I have made use of extravagant methods of advertising. What I belieye is that I have not done half enough in the way of advertising the improvements in dentistry, for which I have received ten patents. I want to give Dr. Taft an opportunity to come here and prove before a court of law that I have resorted to quackish methods. "This is not a new grievance. I have had trouble wilh the American dental association, International medical congress and, in short, all dental associations; and all for what I regard as judicious advertising of improvements made in dental operations."