Women Go To Barber For Cosmetic Surgery . . . Well You Know The Rest

Barbershop owner Young Hwan Choi, 72, allegedly had a side business of doing cosmetic surgery and the results were as predictable as their were criminal. Various women suffered facial scars from the laser surgery. What is striking is that the police released images of his barbershop, suggesting that the women may have actually gone to the barbershop for the surgery as opposed to some fraudulent surgery center. If true, the bizarre decision of these victims could factor into any tort damages as plaintiff’s conduct questions.

Choi faces charges of aggravated assault and practicing medicine without a license. A woman came forward to the Palisades Park Police Department earlier this month to report scarring on her face and chin after a procedure with Choi, 72. The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office statement does not allege any location was used other than the barbershop.

The criminal charges should not be hard to prove. Any tort action could prove more interesting. There could be a claim of per se negligence. Moreover, people holding themselves out as professionals are generally subject to the same standard as a professional in determining if their actions were negligent. Either way, the negligence element should be easy to prove. It is the plaintiffs’ conduct that raises a fascinating twist.

I believe that New Jersey is a “modified” comparative fault state where a plaintiff may not recover if her own negligence is greater than that of the defendant. Damages are reduced by the percentage of fault by the plaintiff. person our persons against whom recovery is sought.  Thus, New Jersey imposes a “50%” qualifier on a plaintiff’s recovery: if the jury determines that the plaintiff is more than 50% responsible for the incident causing the alleged injury, then the plaintiff is precluded from obtaining an award of damages.

Going to a barber for cosmetic surgery is right up there with going to gas stations for your sushi. While Choi would likely be found more responsible, the jury would be challenged to draw the comparative fault line on this one.

11 thoughts on “Women Go To Barber For Cosmetic Surgery . . . Well You Know The Rest”

  1. Hey maybe he’s really a Mohel and failed anatomy, a little snip here a little snip there. Just kidding.

    1. “Any student of medical history knows that the first surgeons were barbers.”

      That doesn’t mean that current surgeons should be.

  2. This reminds of a story I once read in the L.A. Times Metro Section. A man was at a car wash where he met a ‘dentist’ from El Salvador who couldn’t legally practice in the U.S. But this ‘dentist’ offered our man some expensive dental work at a major discount.

    So the man went to the ‘dentist’s’ apartment to have the procedure done for cash. There the ‘dentist’ used far too much cement to affix a crown (or some bridgework). When said ‘dentist’ couldn’t properly file the clump of excess cement, he finally admitted he was in over his head. At that point he told the man to see a real dentist as soon as possible.

    1. I was wondering if something similar happened here. Perhaps “Dr.” Young represented that he had been a plastic surgeon in South Korea, but couldn’t pass the licensing exam here due to a language barrier. That would make the victims’ conduct MORE reasonable, but still objectively unreasonable to agree to surgery in a barber shop. The story does reveal something about the sad social need that some people feel to appear good looking; that someone would subject herself to such risks is simply pathetic.

      1. Yeah, Tin, in big, metro areas there are a lot of immigrants claiming they had credentials back home that won’t transfer here.

Leave a Reply