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 getting a pedicure at the nail salon by a newly hired employee. While performing the service, the employee cut the customer’s right big toe with a pedicure tool. In an attempt to wash the wound, the nail technician placed the cut foot back in the pedicure tub, which was filled with soap and water.
Ten days later, the plaintiff reported to the hospital with complaints of an ingrown toenail on their right big toe. After a thorough examination, the plaintiff was diagnosed with cellulitis; a bacterial skin infection. As an initial attempt to help remedy the infection, the ingrown toenail was removed.
However, the condition of the cellulitis persisted and began to worsen, despite rounds of antibiotics and medication for pain. Soon the plaintiff’s right big toe developed black discoloration and was diagnosed with gangrene, which resulted in a partial amputation of their big toe.
Prior to the pedicure injury, the plaintiff has suffered from Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE); an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks its own tissues. The plaintiff’s medical condition has made them more likely to experience infections and complications, which classifies 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 disinfect their pedicure tools, and failed to perform the duty of care on a patron. The employee’s wrongful acts fall directly onto the business owner for neglecting proper training, supervision, and equipment sanitation. All factors of negligence contributed to the infection, swelling, and eventually amputation of our client’s toe.
Managing Partner, Samer Habbas was determined to hold the nail salon liable on every count to obtain the full compensation our client is rightfully owed. 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 under the California Civil Jury Instructions No. 3927. This doctrine states that the negligent party’s liability will not be diminished due to the fragility of the injured victim prior to the accident and that the plaintiff may recover damages for the further aggravation of their pre-existing condition.
This matter presented significant challenges. The claimant did not present for medical care to her toe for 10 days creating a time gap that the defendant leaned on in their argument. Furthermore, no culture was taken by the claimant’s doctor, thus making it impossible to identify the exact culture of the infection. Lastly, Defendant argued that the claimant’s past medical issues including lupus and neuropathy were the cause of her right big toe amputation.
Up until the day of mediation, no offer was presented from the defense. Starting with an initial offer of $75,000, Habbas skillfully settled the case at mediation for $300,000.