Tattooist files suit against beauty academy, student
Post Independent Staff
A comment at a local hairstyling salon brought a tattoo parlor owner into court recently to defend her good name.
Shelley Fishbein, owner of Hole in the Wall Tattoos and Piercings, located at 710 Grand Ave. in Glenwood Springs, brought suit against the Glenwood Beauty Academy and one of its students, Erin Thistle.
Students at the academy offer cut-rate services such as hair cutting and permanents while learning on the job.
In January, Renee Foster was at the Beauty Academy getting a perm and spoke to Thistle about going to Hole in the Wall for piercings for her and her daughters. Thistle “advised (Renee Foster) not to go to the Hole in The Wall because it had infected customers with the deadly Hepatitis C virus and was about to be shut down by health officials,” Fishbein’s attorney Ted Hess said in an e-mail.
Although Foster did not keep the appointment, she did turn up in court as a witness for Fishbein.
When Foster canceled, Fishbein said she called Glenwood Beauty Academy. The owners of the Beauty Academy denied hearing the rumor.
“We had no way to know if this was a continuing rumor,” Fishbein said. “They wrote a letter saying they were sorry, and Erin wrote a letter of apology.”
Thistle also appeared in court during the Fishbein hearing Friday, Sept. 9.
“She denied saying that (she told Foster about problems at Hole in the Wall),” Fishbein said.
Fishbein, who has been in the tattoo and piercing business for 10 years and opened the Glenwood Springs shop in 2000, said she’s a stickler for cleanliness.
“I’m very hard on sterile procedures. I and my girls have training in sterile (procedure) and biohazard management. I’ve had training from the American Red Cross and the Alliance of American Tattooists,” she said.
According to Hess, during her court appearance, Fishbein testified “no needle, which pierces the skin, is ever reused, and she sterilizes all her equipment in a hospital autoclave.” Fishbein told the court that false statements about sanitary standards could ruin her business.
Hess said he argued in court that the Beauty Academy could also be held liable for slander because it “had the right to control Thistle when she cut and permed Foster’s hair. Even if spreading gossip was prohibited by the Academy (it) was liable because slander occurred at the Academy, and Thistle’s conduct was caused by an intent to serve her master’s interests in some way.”
Judge Paul Metzger who heard the case will issue a judgment on Sept. 23.
Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. 510
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