If you’ve been paying attention to the news or to social media of late, you may have heard of Tessica Brown, a woman who put Gorilla Glue in her hair.
More specifically, she put Gorilla Glue’s spray adhesive on her hair to hold a hairstyle in place as a stopgap measure when she was out of her regular hair care products.
By all accounts, Brown and her lawyer have not decided whether or not to pursue a lawsuit. All Brown has done so far is take to TikTok to warn her followers not to do what she did and retain a lawyer.
Retaining a lawyer is smart. You can rest assured if a lawsuit moves forward, it is not because a frivolous party decided to try to make a buck but because a licensed, experienced personal injury lawyer reviewed the case and decided Tessica Brown had a good one.
Your first thought might have been: what on earth would possess someone to put super glue in their hair?
Here’s a more important question. Should she decide to sue, does she actually have a viable lawsuit?
A failure to warn consumers about the dangerous use of a product can be a viable reason for a personal injury lawsuit.
While you may think it’s common sense that nobody ought to spray super glue into their hair, the facts of the case show that the product labeling specifically warns against using the glue on eyes, skin, or clothing but does not mention hair.
Yes, this could be because nobody at the company ever thought for one moment that someone might deliberately spray superglue into their hair, but the company’s honest lack of foresight may not be able to save them if the courts find they knew or should have known that someone might make the attempt. In fact, the state of Louisiana, where the case will be tried, does state that manufacturers can be held liable for damages caused by a “reasonably anticipated use of the product.”
In fact, product labeling and warnings are meant to help guard consumers against the kinds of lapses in judgment that Brown showed.
In New York, manufacturers also have a duty to warn of the danger of unintended uses of a product, provided those uses are reasonably foreseeable.
So a major question at issue will be: could anyone have reasonably foreseen that someone might try to use Gorilla Glue Spray Adhesive on their hair? A plaintiff’s lawyer might argue that they absolutely could, as there is a product on the market called Gorilla Snot Gel.
While Gorilla Glue does not make the gel (Midway Importing sells it here in the US, it’s a Mexican brand) the presence of that gel could prompt someone to foresee a mixup. The gel even has yellow and orange labeling. Gorilla Glue’s labeling is orange and yellow. Plus, there is evidence to suggest Gorilla Glue leveraged the confusion between the two products to broaden its audience through pay-per-click advertising. Brown’s preferred product is also marketed as “hair glue.”
Plus, “quick weaves or glue weaves” have been a well-known Black woman beauty secret for decades.
All of these facts would seem to support the idea that Gorilla Glue probably should have foreseen that someone might try the product on their hair.
Another major question might be whether the warning to avoid using the adhesive on skin already covers the use of the adhesive on hair, as the consumer might also reasonably foresee that glue on hair meant glue on the scalp.
Another aspect of a product liability case is determining whether the plaintiff suffered compensable damages.
Reports say she went first to the ER. The ER tried removing the glue with acetone, which caused scalp burns. She’s now attempting a surgical procedure to remove the glue. Her hair has remained “rock solid” for about a month.
She will definitely have medical bills that will need to be covered.
Plus, Tessica Brown earns her living as an Instagram and TikTok Star. If she is unable to make videos while seeking treatment, it is possible she will be owed damages for lost income as well.
Finally, she could easily make a claim for pain and suffering, including emotional distress.
What Should You Do If You’re in a Similar Situation?
Here’s the truth.
Modern life is noisy, confusing, and full of distractions. It’s easy to make a mistake the rest of us might find silly. The media and the insurance industry love to lampoon people who have a mishap, and they love to dismiss all such claims as frivolous. They love to dismiss injury victims as greedy opportunists, too, even though they certainly wouldn’t hesitate to grab every dollar they can in every way they could. Pillorying accident victims serves their aims, not yours.
In the meantime, we’re all being sold products that use some rather intensive chemical formulations to serve their intended purposes. And manufacturers have a duty of care to help consumers use those products as safely as possible.
If you have a mishap with a product, don’t be embarrassed. It’s possible your case is absolutely valid. There is nothing wrong with sitting down with an experienced New York personal injury attorney to examine the facts and determine whether you should move forward.
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The Inherent Danger of Common Household Products
How to Help Your Lawyer Make You Money in Your Personal Injury Case