Menifee, Riverside County, Calif. – Managing Partner, Samer Habbas, of The Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates, settled a negligence claim for $300,000 after a nail salon infection caused a toe amputation.
The claimant was receiving a pedicure at the nail salon by a newly hired employee. While performing the service, the clerk cuts off the customer’s right big toe with a pedicure tool. In an attempt to wash the wound, the nail technician placed the severed foot in the pedicure tub, which was filled with soap and water.
Ten days later, the plaintiff presented to the hospital with complaints of an ingrown nail on the big toe of his right foot. After a thorough examination, the plaintiff was diagnosed with cellulite; a bacterial infection of the skin. As an initial attempt to help remedy the infection, the ingrown toenail was removed. However, the cellulite condition persisted and began to worsen, despite rounds of antibiotics and pain medication. Plaintiff’s right big toe soon developed black discoloration and was diagnosed with gangrene, resulting in a partial amputation of his big toe.
Prior to the pedicure injury, the plaintiff had suffered from systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE); an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks its own tissues. Plaintiff’s medical condition has made them more likely to experience infections and complications, classifying them as an “eggshell plaintiff” for this case.
On multiple counts, the nail salon is liable for the damages our client suffered. The newly hired employee, who was assigned to perform the pedicure service on our client, was clearly not properly trained to handle the necessary tools and procedures. The nail technician failed to follow proper protocol, likely failed to sanitize their pedicure tools, and failed to perform a duty of care to a client. The employee’s wrongful acts fall squarely on the business owner for neglecting proper training, supervision, and equipment sanitation. All negligent factors contributed to the infection, swelling, and ultimately amputation of our client’s toe.
The managing partner, Samer Habbas, was determined to hold the nail salon accountable on all counts in order to obtain the full compensation that our client rightfully owes. However, the defendant (nail salon) denied the occurrence of the incident and initially took no responsibility. As an eggshell plaintiff, our client’s rights are protected by California Civil Jury Instruction No. 3927. This doctrine states that the negligent party’s liability shall not be diminished because of the frailty of the injured victim prior to the event. accident and that the plaintiff can recover damages for further aggravation of his pre-existing condition.
This matter posed significant challenges. Plaintiff did not present for medical attention to her toe for 10 days, creating a somber time gap in which Defendant leaned into his argument.
In addition, the claimant’s physician did not take any cultures, making it impossible to identify the exact culture of the infection. Finally, the defendant argued that the plaintiff’s past medical problems, including lupus and neuropathy, were the cause of the amputation of her right big toe.
As of the day of mediation, no defense offer was submitted. Starting with an opening offer of $75,000, Habbas ably settled the case at mediation for $300,000.