CDA president provides update on status of association’s lawsuit against Delta Dental

Comprehensive dental benefit plan reform initiatives will continue
May 10, 2024
CDA v. Delta Action Update
QUICK SUMMARY: CDA President Carliza Marcos, DDS, today provided an update on the status of CDA’s lawsuit against Delta Dental of California filed in December 2022. Read her message to member-dentists and see the next steps in CDA’s comprehensive legal and legislative dental plan reform efforts.

Dear members and colleagues:

I’m reaching out with an update on CDA’s ongoing dental plan reform initiatives, along with an ask that you join us as we continue to fight on behalf of your practices and patients.

Today, I need to share the status of our lawsuit against Delta Dental of California and reaffirm our commitment to meaningful reform.

In December 2022, CDA filed legal action against Delta Dental in San Francisco Superior Court. This action was driven by the changes to Delta Dental’s reimbursement rate structure and provider agreements that had a significant impact on many members. Our lawsuit alleges that fee and contract amendments were made just to enhance profits and executive compensation, with no regard to the impacts on providers and patients.

Following many months of hearings, discovery and amended complaints with additional considerations, the judge has returned a ruling. Unfortunately, at this stage, the Court ruled in favor of Delta Dental and the individual directors and officers, resulting in the case being dismissed. Without getting into the details of the legal analysis of the 28-page ruling, I will summarize briefly. The Court ruled that the directors do not owe fiduciary duties to dentists who participate in the Delta network and that Delta has unfettered discretion to set reimbursement rates. Needless to say, we disagree with this ruling.

  • I want to be open and direct about our stance on dental plan reform and assure you that CDA’s leaders, legal team and outside counsel will evaluate the next steps in litigation. The deadline to file a Notice of Appeal is in early July, and we will make that decision by balancing a desire to leave no stone unturned with our commitment to being good stewards of your membership dues. We’ll keep you connected on decision to appeal or other next steps.
  • Legal action is just one of the many paths we’re pursuing toward reform. We’ve had impactful new bills signed into law, and our dedicated advocacy team magnifies members’ voices on the legislative side.
  • Working with dental plans can be frustrating and financially challenging. CDA’s expert analysts provide one-on-one guidance and helpful resources to inform your decision-making. We’re hearing from more and more members who are choosing to make bold changes to their practice models and patient care financing options, and we’re here to support you as you make those hard choices for your individual practices.

Hear me: we’re fighting harder than ever. Together, we’re creating change through advocacy, legal action and the support of a community who cares deeply about what’s right for their peers and patients. To achieve our vision of meaningful dental plans — that respect providers’ ability to carry out needed treatment and patients’ right to receive essential care — will take all of us: individuals and families who deserve dental care, employers who choose benefit plans, community organizations, and fellow dental and health professionals.

Stay connected and join us in this fight. You can read more about the status of the lawsuit and our reform efforts in our Dental Plan Action Center.

Thank you for your membership and contributing to our collective strength.


Carliza Marcos, DDS, CDA President


Was this resource helpful?