THE FATE OF A LEGENDARY PRACTICE

Steve Oscher
Muma Case Review  •  Volume 1  •  2016  •  pp. 1-18
Calvin T. Jones, DMD slammed the door to his office, walked to his desk, and glared at the diplomas on his wall. UNC at Chapel Hill (Magna Cum Laude), University of Florida (Doctor of Dentistry), all those awards for service and achievement. So perfect, and yet he thought.....how could my career have fallen into total chaos? As Calvin reached for his bottle of Tums, he reflected on the events that brought him to this crossroad in his career.

In the months prior to his graduation, Calvin had reviewed the American Dental Association’s suggested questions for new dentists interviewing to enter the practice of dentistry: Who is the patient population? What kind of care will I be providing? What is the practice’s experience with employee dentists? Why are they hiring now? How is compensation calculated? How long do dentists typically stay in this position? Is there an opportunity for an equity ownership? It was that last question...the opportunity for a “piece of the pie”, that Calvin allowed himself a wry smile.

Dr. Albert S. Waxman was a legend in the Florida dental community. A frequent speaker at UF, Calvin was honored when Dr. Waxman, after a Dental School reception, invited Calvin to visit his office in Tampa. His professors were excited to hear that Al Waxman had taken an interest in one of their top students. Two weeks later, Calvin visited the Hyde Park Family Dentistry Center and was impressed by the facility, the location, the employees, and most importantly, Dr. Waxman. As the meeting ended, Calvin was surprised when Dr. Waxman extended an offer to join his practice after graduation. Everything he had hoped for was falling into place. He accepted Dr. Waxman’s offer the next day.
After seven years, Dr. Waxman offered and Calvin accepted, a 50% interest in the practice. As an equal partner, Calvin expected that he would be able to introduce new ideas and opportunities into the dental practice. Yet, with each suggestion there appeared to be more resistance from Dr. Waxman. Employees became divided in their loyalties. The practice administrator Calvin had been responsible for hiring was now viewed as the devil incarnate by Dr. Waxman.

What happened? How did things go so wrong?
As Calvin returned to the present, his anger started to build, first at himself, then Dr. Waxman, and finally at this mess of a business relationship. A few moments ago, Dr. Waxman informed him that he wanted to dissolve their business relationship.

Was there still a way to salvage the relationship? What could Dr. Calvin Jones do?
partner dispute, conflict resolution, employee loyalty, equity opportunity
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