And a further little gem, this one from the Nova Scotia small claims court: Huckle v Pelletier, 2012 NSSM 13. Marie Huckle wanted to have a tattoo on her side, as a memorial to a recently deceased friend. She found a text on the internet, rendered in a font the small claims adjudicator later described as ‘Gothic or Old English’ (properly, black letter) and took a print-out of it to a local tattoo parlour. The text read ‘See You at the Crossroads’. Helena Pelletier, the tattooist, replicated the text on her computer and played around with it a bit, so it could be resized as a template. The evidence was conflicting, but Huckle maintained that while the first version Pelletier showed her was fine, the second one (which Huckle claimed not to have seen and which Pelletier used as her pattern) read ‘See You at the Cossroads’ (missing a crucial R). Huckle noticed the error when she got home with her new tattoo. Adam Spencer, the owner of the tattoo parlour, discussed various options, including inserting the missing R or covering the whole text up with some other design, but in the end agreed to refund Huckle’s money and pay for the costs of removing the tattoo. Huckle was unhappy with the removal work, which proceeded slowly, and sued for the cost of future removal sessions, her transportation costs to the removal clinic and general damages up to the statutory maximum in small claims court (a princely $100). Spencer questioned whether it was necessary to remove the whole tattoo and didn’t think he should have to pay for the skincare products Huckle used between treatments. Pelletier argued that Huckle should have caught the error and was contributorily negligent to some degree.
The Nova Scotia adjudicator acknowledged that ‘emotions [had] run fairly high in this matter’, but tried to be dispassionate. Pelletier owed a duty of care, and although this did not impose a standard of perfection it was ‘a fairly strict one’; in this instance, it was far from clear that Huckle had had an opportunity to do a final proof-read, and Pelletier could not shift part of the blame for her own error. Huckle had not been asked to sign a waiver, but a waiver wouldn’t necessarily have absolved the tattooist and the shop of liability anyway. Huckle got everything she wanted (except a properly spelt tattoo).
[Link available here].