ROANOKE, Va. - Numerous Roanoke Valley families are now accepting cash settlements after their orthodontist decided to shut his doors. Simply Straight Orthodontics told patients someone was buying the practice, but that turned out to be a false promise.
The closure came out of the blue for patients and has put many of them and their families through the wringer. A number of them were looking at lawsuits because the practice closed without warning and they'd paid in full. But they've decided cash in hand is worth more than a drawn out legal battle.
We first introduced you to Makenna Liberi in August, she was just starting back to 8th grade and had a lot of mouth pain. Now, halfway to 9th grade, the pain is no longer and things are back to normal.
"I'm able to focus more on my work now, I made honor roll again for the third time in a row, so I feel like I'm doing a lot better now than I did with the older braces," Makenna said.
Liberi was a number of patients who pre-paid at Roanoke's Simply Straight Orthodontics. Over the summer they got letters saying someone else was buying the practice, but months later they learned that no buyers actually were interested and the sale fell through so the office closed for good.
"I was getting ready to go downtown actually to file the lawsuit to try to get back the money that we paid out plus the money that we were having to pay now for a different orthodontist and that's when we received the emails," mom Emily Liberi said.
Emails offering a settlement for about half the $2,500 the Liberis paid up front. Owner Dr. Henry Nardea has posted a new message at the office, wishing everyone"best of luck" among other things. He was unreachable on his cell phone for this story and had a full voicemail.
The Liberis are taking the settlement to get on with their lives, Makenna has a new orthodontist and treatment is back on track.
"Of course it slowed down the process but where she's at now I believe she's going to get really good treatment, she's really excited about where she's at now," Emily said.
So with no roadblocks left, the countdown is now on to getting them off.
"Honestly I'm a little scared because I've never seen myself with straight teeth, so I'm afraid I'm going to change and look really different," Makenna said.
There are a number of other patients still deciding what to do. The Liberis said they're now remembering these two words going forward - buyer beware.
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