Dennis A. Vandenberg

1550 Southern Blvd., Suite 300
West Palm Beach FL 33406 

Phone:  561.686.5005 extension 1322
E-mail: dennis.vandenberg@petersonbernard.com

Dennis Vandenberg is a shareholder in the firm's West Palm Beach office. His primary areas of concentration are medical, dental, attorney, accounting, nursing home and hospital malpractice. Mr. Vandenberg also has significant involvement in commercial litigation. He has litigated more than 100 jury trials. Mr. Vandenberg’s experience also extends to maintenance of traffic and construction defect litigation, including homeowner claims against builders.

His defense in the case of Dr. David Acer's estate in the Bergalis AIDS/HIV litigation brought national attention to his skills as a trial lawyer. In addition to his law degree, Mr. Vandenberg is also a Certified Public Accountant. Mr. Vandenberg has been awarded the prestigious AV® Preeminent™ rating by Martindale-Hubbell.

State/Court Admissions

  • Certified Public Accountant, Illinois, 1973
  • Florida Bar, 1976
     
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, 1978
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1982


Education/Background

  • B.S., Accounting, University of Illinois, 1973
  • J.D., University of Miami, 1976
  • Completed graduate courses towards L.L.M. in taxation, University of Miami
  • Certified Public Accountant, Illinois, 1973
  • Co-authored A Guide to Rehabilitation Testimony, 1990


Affiliations/Memberships

  • The Florida Bar 
  • American Bar Association
  • Palm Beach County Bar Association
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Florida Defense Lawyers Association


Reported Cases

 Eden Park v. Zagorski, 821 So. 2d 1263 (Fla. App. 4th Dist. 2002); Hord v. Taibi, 801 So. 2d 1011 (Fla. App. 4th Dist. 2001); Wransky v. Dalfo, 801 So. 2d 239 (Fla. App. 4th Dist. 2001); U.S. Fire Ins. Co v. Transportation Cas. Ins. Co., 747 So. 2d 404 (Fla. App. 4th Dist. 1999); Wayjohn, Inc. v. Abejon, 724 So. 2d (Fla. App. 4th Dist. 1999); U.S. Fire Ins. V. Bellefeuille, 723 So. 2d 847 (Fla. App. 4th Dist. 1998); Mazzouccolo v. Gardner, McLain & Perlman, M.D., P.A., 714 So. 2d 534 (Fla. App. 4th Dist. 1998); Castenholz v. Bergmann, 696 So. 2d 610 (Fla. App. 4th Dist, 1997).

Recent Cases

Dennis Vandenberg successfully defended a Palm Beach County general dentist accused of failing to properly follow up on an aborted third molar extraction by direct referral of patient to an oral surgeon and/or provide the patient with antibiotics.

The plaintiff was hospitalized overnight for completion of the extraction and debridement of the infected area. The plaintiff had claimed approximately $12,000 in medical expenses. He also contended that the doctor told him he had 30 days to address the situation, rather than as soon as possible recommendation as testified by the dentist.

The plaintiff called a local general dentist with minimal recent experience with third molar extractions.

The defense called an Oral Surgeon/MD in addition to reading the deposition of the treating Oral Surgeon.

The jury deliberated for approximately 2.5 hours before returning a defense verdict. The plaintiff was represented by a local Dentist/Attorney.

Dennis Vandenberg successfully defended a general dentist who placed a PFM crown and bridge restoration at 6 to 11. Two years later it required replacement with implants. The patient claimed that it was a permanent restoration, but the dentist claimed it was only provisional until a specialist could be identified to place implants. Despite not having any documentation to support his position, the dentist prevailed. The jury deliberated for less than an hour. 

Dennis Vandenberg obtained a defense verdict in a dental malpractice after a 5 day jury trial in Broward County, Florida. 

The Plaintiff alleged that the Defendant dentist failed to timely diagnose an ameloblastoma and failed to refer the patient to an oral surgeon for treatment. 

The Plaintiff eventually underwent jaw surgery to remove the tumor and reconstruction of the jaw.  As a result, the Plaintiff experienced a nerve injury which affected facial symmetry and compromised everyday jaw functions. 

The jury deliberated for 90 minutes before returning a verdict on behalf of the Defendant.

Dennis Vandenberg obtained a defense verdict for a local periodontist accused of producing a nerve injury after placement of several dental implants.

The Plaintiff had supporting testimony from a nationally acclaimed oral surgeon associated with the University of Miami in addition to CT imaging studies.

On the defense side, there was documentation of a delay in the onset of the complaints and a potential subsequent treater who caused or contributed to the injury. There were also contradictory CT images and testimony from another oral surgeon.

The Plaintiff asked the jury for $500,000 and after 90 minutes of deliberation the jury in Palm Beach County returned a defense verdict. A substantial offer had been made pretrial to settle the matter.

Dennis A. Vandenberg successfully defended a local periodontist in a double implant failure case in Palm Beach County. The patient, a 70+ year old female agreed to the extraction of #9 and 10 and placement of a single implant at #9 supporting a cantilever at 8-10. Two days later the patient contacted the emergency service number and indicated that she thought the bridge moved after biting down on hard vegetables. This was despite written instructions not to bite on these teeth, even though they were taken out of occlusion. She was examined on the next day and it was concluded that the implant was non-mobile and stable. 

The patient did not improve and it was determined to remove the restoration 12 days after placement of the implant. Unfortunately, the implant came out with the restoration. The patient had not been anesthetized to that point in time. At the same visit, an implant was placed at #10. Initially there was healing, but signs and symptoms of an infection then developed, leading to extraction of the implant some 15 days later. At that point in time there was a deficit in the buccal plate of 2.0 x 2.5 cm. Grafting was accomplished, but not to the extent that the subsequent treater felt confident in re-introducing implants.

The jury took 90 minutes to find in favor of the dentist. The Plaintiff was represented by a local dentist turned attorney. Post-trial motions have been waived.

Dennis Vandenberg successfully defended a local general dentist in a claimed inferior alveolar nerve injury following the extraction of tooth #30.  The patient, a 60 year old female was treated for implants at #29 and #30 with extraction of #30.   After the extraction and trephination of the two roots, the practitioner determined that a graft was necessary and a delay in placement of implant was appropriate.  

There was an immediate onset of numbness which gradually receded over approximately six to eight weeks, but replaced with a painful sensation and sensitivity.  The Plaintiff contended that she was entitled to an additional informed consent discussion when the extraction became more complicated, and that either the grafting material or by instrumentation that the inferior alveolar nerve was injured.  

The defense was able to establish that Plaintiff’s claim injuries were inconsistent and exaggerated.   In addition, through radiographic documentation it was established that there was never a superior aspect to the mandibular bony canal.   The injury was the result of transient fluid pressure.

The jury took two hours to deliberate, reaching a defense verdict.   Post trial motions have been waived.

Dennis Vandenberg successfully defended a Palm Beach County endodontist accused of causing nerve injury as a result of root canal therapy. The Plaintiff was an 81 year old widow who had claimed immediate onset of pain and numbness following a lower left root canal treatment. Her history to several dentists was inconsistent. The numbness was confirmed by the defense neurologist but was again variable. The Plaintiff was represented by a dentist/attorney who was allowed at the last minute to add an oral surgeon as a standard of care expert. Plaintiff’s counsel also accused the dentist of making false entries into his electronic record. Imaging studies and an inconsistent history supported the defense position. The jury deliberated for five minutes followed by lunch before returning a defense verdict. The Plaintiff had asked the jury for $250,000.

Dennis Vandenberg and the Peterson Bernard medical malpractice team successfully defended an anesthesiologist and a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) in a medical malpractice case in Palm Beach County, Florida wherein the Plaintiffs chose to voluntarily dismiss their case after 2 ½ years of litigation.

The patient had been hospitalized following an automobile accident wherein he fractured his neck and wrist. Following surgery to repair his wrist, the patient’s condition began to deteriorate and the Plaintiffs alleged that there was a failure to timely secure the patient’s airway via a blind nasal intubation which resulted in a hypoxic brain injury, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and resulting cognitive and physical impairment.

The defense was able to establish that the cause of the patient’s brain injury was most likely the result of a vertebral artery dissection that occurred around the time of the automobile accident. 

Dennis Vandenberg and the Peterson Bernard medical malpractice team successfully defended an anesthesiologist in a medical malpractice case in Palm Beach County, Florida wherein the Plaintiff chose to voluntarily dismiss his case on the evening of trial and after 2 years of litigation.  

The case involved allegations that the anesthesiologist administered and/or allowed the patient to be given a medication that she was allergic to during a transforaminal epidural steroid injection.  The patient died from a severe anaphylactic reaction shortly after the epidural injection. 

The defense established that there was no plausible evidence that the anesthesiologist gave the medication that triggered the anaphylactic reaction.

Dennis Vandenberg successfully defended an anesthesiologist in a medical malpractice case in Hillsborough County, Florida wherein the Plaintiffs chose to voluntarily dismiss their case against the Defendant anesthesiologist on the eve of trial and after more than 1 ½ years of litigation.  The case involved an alleged nerve injury and resulting brachial plexopathy caused by an interscalene anesthetic block before a shoulder surgery.

Dennis Vandenberg and the Peterson Bernard medical malpractice team obtained a defense verdict on behalf of a family physician after a 5 day jury trial in Lee County, Florida.  The case involved an alleged failure to diagnose breast cancer.  The testimony focused on the self-reported history given by the patient to the defendant doctor during one office visit and as corroborated by two witnesses.  At the time of trial, the plaintiff had Stage IV breast cancer. 

Dennis Vandenberg and his team successfully defended an anesthesiologist in a medical malpractice case in Palm Beach County, Florida wherein the Plaintiffs chose to voluntarily dismiss their case on the eve of trial and after 2 years of litigation. 

The case involved an alleged perforation to the Plaintiff’s left eye during a retrobulbar anesthetic block which resulted in a hemorrhagic choroidal detachment and eventual blindness. 

Based on careful review of pre-operative ultrasounds, the defense successfully demonstrated that the hemorrhagic choroidal detachment actually began 2 days prior to the administration of the retrobulbar anesthetic block. 

Dennis Vandenberg and his team successfully defended a Martin County anesthesiologist/pain management physician in a claimed RSD injury from a cervical epidural.

The Plaintiff, an individual with numerous injuries and cervical and lumbar procedures contended that he was pressured into a cervical rather than a lumbar epidural on the day of the incident.

The physician testified that the patient jerked backwards when the isovue was injected. Initially the MRI showed a contusion to the cord, which disappeared after one year. The Plaintiff contended that he had RSD in his entire right arm.

The signs and symptoms were inconsistent with RSD. The Plaintiff’s expert testimony was overwhelmed by a nationally recognized pain management specialist who testified not only to the standard of care but the lack of support for a diagnosis of RSD.

The defense neurological evaluation had the same findings. Plaintiff’s sought $500,000 from the defendant, and after 90 minutes of deliberation the jury found in favor of the defense.