In Louisiana, African-American Tessica Brown ran out of her usual hair spray styling product last month, so she thought and thought about what to use instead (I’m just speculating here). Tapioca? Laundry detergent pods? Kerosene? Battery acid? The ashes of her beloved cat? No, no, none of that seemed right. “Eureka!” Tessica suddenly exclaimed. Of course! It’s obvious! Gorilla Glue adhesive spray!”
And so she did.
Guess what happened. Yes, yes, I know it’s hard, but just for fun. Guess.
As she revealed in a now viral video she posted on social media, the glue stuck to her hair and scalp! Who could have predicted that! A local hospital tried to remove the clue using acetatee, but that just burned her scalp.
On Wednesday, Tessica went to Los Angeles to meet with Dr. Michael Obeng, a plastic surgeon, who has offered his services for free because it will great marketing for all of the other women disfigured from putting Gorilla Glue on their hair. I’m sure there must be..well, there might be another one. Maybe.
Since the video is being viewed by so many, the makers of Gorilla Glue felt it was prudent to put out this statement:
We are aware of the situation and we are very sorry to hear about the unfortunate incident that Miss Brown experienced using our Spray Adhesive on her hair. This is a unique situation because this product is not indicated for use in or on hair as it is considered permanent. Our spray adhesive states in the warning label ‘do not swallow. Do not get in eyes, on skin, or on clothing …”
It is used for craft, home, auto, or office projects to mount things to surfaces such as paper, cardboard, wood, laminate, and fabric.
We are glad to see in her recent video that Miss Brown has received treatment from her local medical facility and wish her the best.
That’s nice. Tessica needs such good wishes, since navigating through life will not be easy for a woman who is prone to getting ideas like,”It’s time to put Gorilla Glue on my head.”
Tessica says she is “considering” a lawsuit. The translation: “Maybe the company will offer me some money just to avoid the hassle of a nuisance suit.” I wouldn’t hold my breath. The statement is a pretty clear indication that the company will not open the floodgates for spurious suits from everyone who comes up with a stupid misuse of its product that isn’t specifically warned against on the packaging.
A lawyer named Exavier Pope weighed in with this tweet:
At first I thought Pope was a desperate attorney angling for work, but apparently not: he is has a sports law practice and does some personal injury work, and was trying to get some publicity for his firm, which it did, not all of it welcome. He asserted that the company is liable, but it is doubtful he believes that, or that the company will be held responsible. He could take Tessica’s case pro bono, and if he really thought such a case was winnable, he would. She is, however, all sarcasm aside, an idiot, and the use of the label “glue” should be legally sufficient notice to warn any consumer that you don’t put it on your hair. The product’s warning also doesn’t expressly say not to put it up your nose or in your ears. Gorilla Glue is not accountable, and will not, in all likelihood, be held accountable. Tessica is accountable, along with her parents, the educational system, and whoever handed out the brains before the stork delivered her.
I visited Exavier’s website. His firm’s page describes itself as “world class” and says it has “top industry experiences.” It also refers to “our office.” As far as I can see, Pope is a solo practitioner. “Our” is deceptive, and attorneys have been disciplined for such wording. The majority of jurisdictions, including Illinois, also prohibit law firm websites from making claims that cannot be verified objectively, like “world class” and “top.” Maybe Illinois is lenient about this kind of thing : I still advise clients to avoid such puffery.
Pope now has a more nuanced statement about Tessica’s prospects on his website:
That’s a lot better than his tweet, though it’s still obnoxious. It also has a lot of typos, which does not bode well for potential clients. He is correct that law suits by idiots sometimes succeed, because you never know what a persuasive lawyer can talk a jury into. This is why the legal ethics rule against “frivolous law suits” (Rule 3.1) is so seldom enforced , and probably wouldn’t be in this instance. That doesn’t mean that some lawyers—like me— wouldn’t file a complaint in good faith against a lawyer who took Tessica’s case for abusing the system and embarrassing the profession.
The statement is riddled with almost as many rationalizations as typos, like “everybody does it” and “it is what it is.” It’s also wrong: it’s not a “societal good” to hold companies accountable for the inexcusable stupidity and recklessness of individuals, or to send the message that the individual responsible for her own fate should be able to shift blame to a deep pockets defendant. Of course, Pope’s claim is the official position of trial lawyers, who I worked closely with in their association for seven lively years. I won’t blame Exavier for repeating the standard line, but it is still wrong.
But you’ll notice that he isn’t taking the case.