Long-Haired Woman Sues Walmart Over Shampoo-Related 'Suffering'

By Brett Snider, Esq. on April 18, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A long-haired woman is suing Walmart after a shampoo purchase allegedly forced her to cut several feet of her hair.

Jennifer Fahey, 30, of Portland, Oregon, alleges that she bought a bottle of Equate Everyday Clean Dandruff Shampoo at Walmart and was dismayed to find that the product made her long-grown locks "irreparably tangled." Fahey is suing Walmart and the shampoo's manufacturer for the suffering caused by her de-coifing.

Can Fahey's hair-related suffering make Walmart pay out?

Hair (The Non-Musical Lawsuit)

Fahey claims that the Vi-Jon product -- sold under Walmart's house brand Equate as a competitor to Head & Shoulders -- immediately knotted her hair to the point of no return. Her attorney William Ball claims that the formerly long-haired lass had to shear off all but 4 inches of her hair, which used to reach to the small of her back, The Oregonian reports.

The closer-cropped Fahey is now seeking $10,000 in damages from the shampoo incident for:

  • Pain and suffering,
  • Costs to replace hair,
  • Diminished and lost wages, and
  • Loss of "life's pleasures and activities."

Pain and suffering damages are easier to plead in cases involving debilitating (not depilatory) injuries which are more than just minor annoyances. While Fahey may have been growing her hair out since childhood, the emotional pain of its loss may not rise to the amount that she is seeking. This type of claim is very similar to the "life's pleasures" claim, which asserts a loss of day-to-day enjoyment in life.

It's also unclear how Fahey suffered "lost or diminished wages" from a short haircut. Unless Fahey can justify how her mane brought in the moolah (or how its loss dried it up), this seems like a tough legal nut to crack.

Hell Hath No Fury Like Woman Shorn

Perhaps a jury will be better able to judge Fahey's true loss stemming from her long hair's departure. Meg Ryan seems happy with short hair, but Fahey "identifies with long hair," reports the Oregonian.

In Fahey's favor, she did obtain a haircut to mitigate the damage done to her hair. But it will be for a jury to decide if her suit is worth more than the price of her haircut.

Until this issue is settled, the Walmart shampoo aisle may be slightly less crowded.

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