Our client, a young woman in her early 20s, wanted to preserve her natural beauty. She had never undergone any type of cosmetic procedure and wanted to start off with a basic facial. She visited a med spa that offered a variety of procedures from non-invasive facials to chemical peels and microdermabrasion. She met with a woman that presented herself as a cosmetologist. The woman, who later because a defendant in the case, offered to perform a chemical peel on our client’s face. Although our client was apprehensive about the unanticipated procedure, she trusted the “cosmetologist” and agreed to undergo the chemical peel, rather than doing a regular facial.
After undergoing the chemical peel at the med spa, the young woman was not given any post-procedure instructions. Within days of undergoing the chemical peel, she began noticing that she forming bumps on her face that at first looked like pimples. The bumps, over the course of a few days, turned into large open wounds. She initially thought that she was suffering a herpes outbreak but was later diagnosed with impetigo, a skin infection. She suffered from pain, embarrassment, and scaring from the infection.
Our attorney filed a lawsuit against the med spa and the cosmetologist that performed the chemical peel. Upon investigating further, we discovered that the woman performing the procedure was not licensed to perform chemical peels in the State of Florida. During litigation, we also discovered that the med spa did not have a cleaning protocol and did not take any special precautions to ensure a sterile environment in the room where the cosmetic procedures were performed.
The defendants attempted to dismiss the case when it was originally filed, arguing that it was a medical malpractice case that is required to go through the statutory pre-suit process. The defendants alleged that because the facility where the chemical peel injury occurred was owned by medical doctors, the case should be categorized as a medical malpractice lawsuit. Our attorney argued that the woman who was employed by the med spa was not a medical professional and was never even licensed to perform chemical peels or other cosmetic procedures. We won this argument in court and the case proceeded to litigation.
After a year-long lawsuit, which involved taking depositions of witnesses and conducting other discovery, the parties agreed to settle the case. Although the parties attended mediation in an attempt to resolve the matter earlier in the litigation, our attorney advised the client against the defendants’ low offer at mediation. We continued to pursue litigation and the defendants eventually made a reasonable offer to settle the case.
The legal process in this chemical peel facial case took approximately 12 months.
Patience is a virtue. Although mediation can be helpful in resolving a personal injury case, it is not always successful. In this case, when the parties went to a court-ordered mediation, the defendants were simply not ready to settle the case for a reasonable amount. This happens often. This is why it is important for the attorney and the client to be prepared to walk out of the mediation and keep litigating if the offer from the defendant is not fair. We settled this case approximately six months after the mediation, but for an amount that was six times higher!