It was reported in the media today that a Clackamas County jury in Oregon has sided with a The Rumi Simone Salon & Spa in a $50,000 lawsuit brought by 36 year old Sarah Jane Ward, a Lake Oswego woman, who claimed in her suit that her hair started falling out following scalp-bleaching treatments in 2007.
Leta Gorman, the attorney for Ms. Ward claimed that her client had suffered a bad hair day for the past 19 months as a result of the bleached hair treatments. The suit was asking not only for $8,500 in hair extensions but $546 in babysitting expenses. The remainder of the $50,000 sought in the lawsuit was for "humiliation and depression" which Ms. Ward said she suffered from the 70% of the hair she reported snapped off after the blonde dye was administered.
Furthermore, Ms. Ward claimed that it will take her at least two more years to recover the long locks she reportedly had before the blonde dye treatments.
The attorney for the Rumi Salon and Spa reported that Ms. Ward failed to heed the advice of her hair care professional and abused her hair with teasing and hot ironing and other abuses. He pointed out "we're dealing with hair breakage" and it's not "the end of the world." He also pointed out Ms. Ward was "not physically harmed, did not go bald and did not suffer a mental health crisis."
Ms. Ward countered with the claim she had been dying her hair for 25 years and felt ugly when her hair broke off after having it dyed. She also claimed she thought she had cancer when her hair started to break off.
The jury sided with The Rumi Salon and their attorney and did not award Ms. Ward anything in her lawsuit.
I have to say that I am not surprised by this case. Over the years I have heard of many hair consumers who have taken legal action against their hairdressers for a wide range of grievances ranging from bad haircuts and chemical treatments to bad perms and dye jobs. Did Ms. Ward abuse her newly platinum blonde hair with hot tools and other unwise treatments? It would be hard to prove or disprove.
One thing is for sure, most judges, juries and courts believe that any hair treatments undertaken by plaintiffs are at their own free will and under no obligation. If you go into a hair salon and ask to have your hair bleached platinum, even if you are advised not to by the hairdresser, and your hair breaks off, it was your decision to proceed.
It is very rare for hair consumers to win against hairdressers and hair salons in legal actions unless there has been some sort of accidental death, dismemberment or other bodily harm that renders the client physically handicapped or otherwise damaged.
This case again confirms what I have witnessed over the past 12 years at HairBoutique.com. When it comes to hair care treatments, product use or visits to a salon or spa, the consumer must take responsibility to do their homework and be aware of all the risks involved.
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