Our 39-year-old client suffered extensive third-degree burns to her scalp and permanent hair loss after being burned at a local hair salon during an appointment for balayage highlights. The stylist at the salon in question applied a bleaching product to our client’s hair, wrapped it in foils, and then placed her under a heated steam machine. This was done despite the fact that the bleach product itself had a warning in all caps bold print that said DO NOT USE WITH HEAT. Within minutes, our client’s head felt like it was on fire and she was in so much pain that she was crying and shaking. After paying and leaving the salon, she went immediately to the emergency room, where she was diagnosed with full-thickness scalp burns. Her burns were so severe and deep that part of her scalp ultimately detached, and she was left with permanent hair loss. Our client underwent numerous surgeries in attempt to reduce the bald areas, and she suffered enormously both physically and emotionally as a result of the burn injury.
We filed a lawsuit in Lucas County on behalf of our client and her husband. Litigation continued for more than a year. During that time, we did extensive investigation into the salon and the hair coloring products used, took the depositions of the hair stylist and salon owners, and added claims for punitive damages based on what was discovered in the depositions. We also consulted with an expert in Cosmetology who works for the State Board, who believed the salon had been negligent in numerous ways. As the scheduled mediation neared, we also conducted a focus group to determine how real jurors would react to the facts of our client’s case. The case settled for a confidential amount at private mediation two years to the day from our client’s initial burn injury.