A 37-year-old housewife, who claimed her enjoyment of her daughter’s First Holy Communion was ruined after a salon hair colour treatment burned her scalp, has been awarded €12,500 damages in the Circuit Civil Court.
Elaine Wilson alleged that on May 22, 2013, she attended Rainbow Hair and Beauty, Convent Road, Clondalkin, Dublin in preparation for her daughter’s communion three days later.
Wilson told her barrister, Gareth Kinsella, that she asked a staff member for an all over colour treatment. She said the colour was applied by a different staff member.
The court heard that shortly after the dye application Wilson started to feel a tingling and burning sensation on her scalp and she asked for the manager.
She said that after some time the manager checked her hair and she was helped from the chair and brought to the basins area where her hair was washed for 20 minutes. The dye had been on her hair for almost an hour.
Wilson, of St Mark’s Drive, Clondalkin, said her scalp was very sore. When she had asked what the reason was she had been told that “it is fine” and her hair was dried. She had felt distressed but had felt obliged to pay the €51 charge.
Mr Kinsella, who appeared with John Synnott Solicitors, said Ms Wilson had then gone home and noticed her scalp was burned. She had blisters and was bleeding and had a redness on her forefront and a bald patch on the back of her head.
Wilson told Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke that she went back to the salon the next day. The manager had laughed and had told her to attend a doctor.
The court heard that Wilson had been in pain and had needed to attend her GP a number of times following the incident. She had been prescribed a scalp lotion and had needed to take painkillers for several weeks.
Wilson said the incident had made her daughter’s communion a disaster as she had been distressed by having to appear in public and have her photograph taken.
“I was embarrassed with my hair and didn’t want to go anywhere,” Wilson told Judge Groarke.
Mr Kinsella said Ms Wilson was so upset by the incident that she still has not gone back to a hairdresser and now prefers to apply hair colours herself.
Counsel said she had obtained judgment in default of appearance against Rainbow Hair and Beauty Ltd and today’s case was one of assessment of damages only against the company.
Judge Groarke said Ms Wilson had a horrible experience which was rendered worse given the important family occasion. “I can certainly understand how terribly upset she was,” he said.
Hearing that she had made a full recovery four months after the incident, Judge Groarke awarded Ms Wilson €12,500 damages along with her legal costs. The company was not present in court nor was it legally represented today.