CDA will appeal decision in lawsuit against Delta Dental

CDA’s president shares next steps and continued push for meaningful dental plan reform
June 18, 2024
CDA v. Delta Action Update
Quick Summary: CDA President Carliza Marcos, DDS, explains why CDA will appeal the judge’s decision last month in the lawsuit we filed in December 2022 against Delta Dental of California. Read her message to member-dentists about all the ways CDA is fighting to protect dentists’ interests through plan oversight and financial accountability.

Dear members and colleagues:

The lack of accountability and transparency from dental plans is painful for dentists, our practices and our patients. Our current climate is financially burdensome, stressful and often stands in the way of providing quality care.

CDA is fighting for meaningful dental plan reform on multiple fronts. Today, I’m reaching out with the next steps in our lawsuit against Delta Dental of California as part of our larger strategy.

Last month, I shared that the San Francisco Superior Court returned a ruling in our lawsuit against Delta Dental of California. The judge ruled in favor of Delta Dental and the individual directors and officers, resulting in the case being dismissed at that time. To say that we were disappointed is an understatement.

The judge’s ruling asserts that the individual directors and officers of Delta Dental do not owe fiduciary duties to the dentists who participate in the plan’s networks, and that Delta Dental has unfettered discretion to set or change contractual terms without regard to the impacts on dental providers and patients.

We fundamentally disagree and cannot let this case dismissal go unanswered.

CDA’s volunteer board of your dental peers, along with our in-house and outside legal teams, have thoughtfully considered our options and decided to appeal and seek dismissal of this decision.

We understand that dentists are seeking solutions that can help relieve the pain of working with dental plans right now. It can feel like we’re trying to change both the weather and the climate.

So here’s what I want you to know:

  • This appeal will not alter or delay CDA’s other efforts toward reform nor dilute other resources to support members. Litigation takes time and can be costly. It will be many months before we learn the result of our appeal, but this fight is part of our commitment to protect your interests.
  • We’ve already had 10 bills signed into law as part of our plan reform strategy, and more initiatives like the bill to protect California dentists from predatory virtual credit cards are being fiercely pursued on your behalf.
  • We’re cutting through the dental plan industry’s noise with campaigns targeted at legislators and a coalition of 20-plus organizations that support reform. See how we’re fighting for consumer protections, plan oversight and financial accountability at
  • While CDA cannot tell you what type of financial model you should follow, our experts can help inform decisions about whether working with dental plans is right for you. Your own patient demographics, practice goals, plans’ contractual terms and fees for your more frequently billed procedures all play a role. Many California practices are fed up, and CDA is here to help members better understand contracts and considerations with plan participation.
  • Our association is driven by member voices. We’re currently holding in-depth focus group sessions that will inform a full member survey. This work will identify the issues that matter most to you, which helps us direct our resources and energy to the efforts that deliver the most value.

Like you, I am deeply concerned that Delta’s fee and contract amendments were made just to enhance profits and executive compensation, with no regard to the impacts on dentists and patients. This hurts everyone: members and their practices, the greater dental community, employers who choose benefit plans, and individuals and families who have a right to essential care.

Let’s fight with a united front. We all care deeply about our profession, peers and patients. Learn more about our ongoing reform efforts in the Dental Plan Action Center.


Carliza Marcos, DDS,
CDA President


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