Nail salon settles infection lawsuit

Sunday, May 5, 2002

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Kansas City woman whose trip to a nail salon caused her finger to become so infected she had to have the tip amputated has settled a negligence lawsuit for $140,000.

Rebecca Burgess, 47, claimed she got the infection while old acrylic nails were being ground off with an electric grinder at the Fancy Nail Salon in Kansas City. The infection was then encased into her finger by the hard new acrylic nail that was applied.

Her finger swelled and throbbed for several weeks before she went to the hospital, where it was discovered that the infection destroyed some of the bone. Her fingertip was eventually amputated.

The lawsuit was settled without a trial last month.

The Fancy Nail Salon had been cited numerous times by the state for its unsanitary conditions, but a Missouri law making inspection reports from the Board of Cosmetology confidential prevented her from learning about the salon's blemished record.

According to Missouri Lawyers Weekly, the woman's attorney had to resort to Freedom of Information Act requests to get the records.

"The case highlights a disturbing problem," said attorney Ken Jones, editor of Missouri Lawyers Weekly. "The reports are ostensibly being prepared for the health and safety of the public, but the public cannot get the information."

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