Cosmetics result in disfigurement, woman's suit alleges

By Lawrence Smith | Oct 9, 2009

CHARLESTON - A Kanawha County woman is alleging both a national department store chain, and a cosmetics company played a trick on her when they treated her to samples of the latter's beauty products.

Macy's Department Stores and Estee Lauder Services are named as co-defendants in a lawsuit filed by Amee Nicole Topping in Kanawha Circuit Court. In her complaint filed on Sept. 24, Topping, 33, alleges she was permanently injured when she used one of Estee Lauder's specialty line of cosmetics two years ago.

According to court records, Topping was given a sample of MAC cosmetics on Oct. 1, 2007, when she was the Macy's store at the Barboursville Mall. The suit does not specify the number or types of samples Topping was provided.

First started in Canada in 1985, MAC was created especially for make-up artists. After it was introduced into the United States market in 1991, it was fully acquired by the New York, N.Y.-based Estee Lauder in 1998.

In her suit, Topping alleges on Oct. 31, 2007, she checked herself into the emergency room at Charleston Area Medical Center after she applied the samples to her face. She alleges they resulted in her sustaining chemical burns.

The resulting burns, Topping alleges, caused her to endure "great pain and suffering of the mind and body" to the point where she missed so much work she was ultimately fired. Also, the burns caused so much change in her appearance that staff at her children's school feared she was a victim of abuse and reported her to the state Department of Health and Human Resources.

The "defectively tested, designed, manufactured and distributed" cosmetics, Topping alleges, has resulted in her sustaining, among other things, a loss of companionship with her children, and wages from her job. Because of the alleged burns, Topping maintains she's "permanently disfigured," and will have to endure future medical care.

Topping seeks unspecified damages, court costs and interest. She is represented by David L. White with the Masters Law Firm in Charleston.

The case is assigned to Judge James C. Stucky.

Kanawha Circuit Court, case number 09-C-1789

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