Alleged Negligence in Nail Salon Safety Leads to Severe Burns and Infection

This case study examines a severe incident of third-degree burns and a subsequent Cellulitis infection suffered by an individual at a nail salon, allegedly due to negligence in water temperature assessment and cleanliness standards.

ByZach Barreto


Published on February 6, 2024

Cosmetologist giving manicure in nail salon

Case Overview

This case involves an individual who suffered severe third-degree burns and a subsequent Cellulitis infection after receiving a pedicure at a nail salon. The plaintiff's feet were submerged in a footbath, which was allegedly too hot, leading to the burns.

The infection was discovered during follow-up surgeries, raising questions about the cleanliness of the salon's facilities and maintenance practices. It is alleged that the nail salon failed to assess the water temperature before the plaintiff submerged their feet and may have been negligent in maintaining pipes or general cleanliness, resulting in the infection.

Other allegations of negligence include lack of visible employee credentialing, unsafe practices such as keeping hot coals in crockpots, and inadequate training, instruction, and supervision of employees.

Questions to the Cosmetology expert and their responses


Can you briefly describe your experience managing or operating a nail salon or similar venue that provides pedicures?

I managed a salon offering nail services in the 80’s and 90’s. I also served on the Occupational Advisory Committee board at our local Technical school for approximately two decades where we discussed protocol and law for all services performed in my line of work.


What safety protocols are in place relating to water temperature to ensure a customer does not suffer from a burn while receiving a pedicure?

We never allowed someone’s foot into a foot bath without physically testing the water first. We would always ask them how they found the temperature. It would be unthinkable to expect them to keep their feet in something uncomfortable.


What safety protocols are in place related to cleanliness and/or pipe maintenance to ensure a customer does not sustain an infection post-pedicure?

In terms of sterilization, there is a precise protocol mandated by state law following the use of a foot bath. This involves specific procedures with particular products before reusing said foot bath. I have seen this protocol being ignored many times at local nail salons.


Have you ever reviewed a similar case? If yes, please elaborate.

Yes, I was hired for a case that involved dipping powders and required reviewing almost 800 pages of medical files. The principles are the same for hands and feet, but feet require extra caution due to their distance from the heart and potential underlying conditions like diabetes or circulatory issues.

About the expert

This expert has an extensive background in cosmetology, with over 40 years of experience specializing in the hair and salon industry. They began their career as a shampoo assistant, progressing to stylist roles, managerial positions, and eventually owning their own salon. Currently, they leverage this wealth of experience as an independent cosmetology consultant, providing valuable insights into best practices and safety protocols within the industry.

Expert headshot



About the author

Zach Barreto

Zach Barreto

Zach Barreto is a distinguished professional in the legal industry, currently serving as the Senior Vice President of Research at the Expert Institute. With a deep understanding of a broad range of legal practice areas, Zach's expertise encompasses personal injury, medical malpractice, mass torts, defective products, and many other sectors. His skills are particularly evident in handling complex litigation matters, including high-profile cases like the Opioids litigation, NFL Concussion Litigation, California Wildfires, 3M earplugs, Elmiron, Transvaginal Mesh, NFL Concussion Litigation, Roundup, Camp Lejeune, Hernia Mesh, IVC filters, Paraquat, Paragard, Talcum Powder, Zantac, and many others.

Under his leadership, the Expert Institute’s research team has expanded impressively from a single member to a robust team of 100 professionals over the last decade. This growth reflects his ability to navigate the intricate and demanding landscape of legal research and expert recruitment effectively. Zach has been instrumental in working on nationally significant litigation matters, including cases involving pharmaceuticals, medical devices, toxic chemical exposure, and wrongful death, among others.

At the Expert Institute, Zach is responsible for managing all aspects of the research department and developing strategic institutional relationships. He plays a key role in equipping attorneys for success through expert consulting, case management, strategic research, and expert due diligence provided by the Institute’s cloud-based legal services platform, Expert iQ.

Educationally, Zach holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and European History from Vanderbilt University.

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