A 61-year-old woman injured after hot wax landed in her right eye during a beauty treatment at a now-closed Trumbull spa has settled her case for $400,000.
Monroe resident Gail Gianpolo visited the Fairfield Day Spa in July 2016 to get her eyebrows waxed.
But instead, her lawsuit and amended complaint claimed salon manager and beautician Kevin Phan dropped hot wax in her eye, causing a central corneal ulcer, stromal scar, corneal abrasion and a slew of painful and permanent injuries.
Frank Bailey, Gianpolo’s Bridgeport-based attorney, told the Connecticut Law Tribune Monday that an argument Phan had with another customer could have contributed to the incident.
“Another customer confronted him and they got into an argument,” said Bailey, a partner with Tremont Sheldon Robinson Mahoney. “As he was arguing with the customer over an unrelated issue, the wax dropped in my client’s eye as he was attempting to do the eyebrow.”
Bailey said that incident has caused years of distress for his client, who has a deep scar in her cornea as a result of the eyebrow wax-gone-awry.
“Because of that scar, the eye is painful and often tearful,” Bailey said. “It is also sensitive to light. If she looks at a street light in the dark, for example, it appears as broken glass.”
Bailey said the only way Gianpolo’s eye could return to normal is if she underwent a corneal transplant, but his client has made no decision on that cause of action.
The defense offered $90,000 to settle the case, while Bailey originally sought $750,000 for Gianpolo. The two sides entered mediation April 16 with Michael Riley, a member at Pullman & Comley.
“Two weeks after mediation, we were able to resolve the case with Riley’s help,” Bailey said.
Bailey believes an independent medical examination by Dr. Aaron Rose, a Connecticut ophthalmologist and professor at Yale University School of Medicine, helped speed the resolution, because it showed 50% to 60% permanent partial impairment of Gianpolo’s right eye.
The spa’s attorney, Pamela LeBlanc of Hartford-based Law Offices of David J. Mathis, did not respond to a request for comment Monday. The beautician, Phan, has an unlisted Connecticut telephone number and could not be reached. But in court pleadings, the defense argued Gianpolo would have to prove injury, and claimed the plaintiff had provided insufficient evidence.
Gianpolo, a cashier and food-service technician at a high school, incurred about $4,700 in medical expenses. Her attorney said Gianpolo is satisfied with the settlement, paid through The Hartford, which insured the spa.