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Lawyer Jimmy A. Bell goes after Landover nail salon for charging men more than women


Jimmy A. Bell, who is suing a Landover nail salon. (Courtesy of Jimmy A. Bell)

Jimmy A. Bell was taking a lady friend to dinner last fall when they decided to stop off first at a Landover salon for a little pampering: a his-and-her manicure/pedicure. Everything was fine, he said, until it was time to leave.

"I went to pay the bill while she was letting her nails dry -- and they had charged me $2 more than they charged her," recalls the outraged customer. "I said, 'Wait a minute, why am I paying more?' They said, 'Because you're a man.'"

That salon may have messed with the wrong well-groomed guy. Bell is a Bowie-based lawyer with a knack for the headline-making case -- he's represented comedian D.L. Hughley and "Top Chef" contestant Timothy Dean in suits against local businesses, as well as himself in a complaint against Domino's over its refusal to deliver to certain neighborhoods (the Justice Department ultimately got the pizzamakers to agree to a nondiscriminatory policy). This week, Bell filed suit in Prince George's County Circuit Court against the manicure place, Rich's Nail Salon, alleging gender-based price discrimination.

For those extra four bucks -- a $2 surcharge each on manly hands and feet -- Bell is seeking $200,000 from the salon.

"They're making money off of men illegally," Bell told us. "I don't get painted, just the regular buff. They didn't measure my hands or my nails to see if it's more work. They made a distinction based on the fact that I'm a man. ... You'd be outraged if they said blacks pay more or Jews pay more."

Bell said he took the case to court after a complaint he filed with the county Human Relations Commission appeared to stall. The owner of the nail salon did not return our call seeking comment.

John Banzhaf, a GWU law professor and legal activist, says Bell's case is reminiscent of his own successful crusades against dry cleaners that charged more for women's shirts and haircutters that charged more for ladies. Still, damages of $200,000 might be a stretch; he suggested that Bell try to bring a class-action suit instead -- though "I don't think that many guys get their nails done."

Bell, though, says he was directly and personally victimized by the salon's pricing plan. "The last thing that I thought that would happen to me in this county is that someone would discriminate against me," he said. "I couldn't even go to dinner, I was so upset."

By The Reliable Source  | September 22, 2010; 1:04 AM ET
 
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Comments

What a big baby! Find something with more substance -- so upset you couldn't even go to dinner! What will you do when something really important happens? Wow --so embarrassed by this!!!

Posted by: bingata744 | September 22, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Since Jimmy likes filing law suits, why not file one against the Washington Redskins for not holding a 17 point lead on sunday! I couldn't stop laughing after that game !

Posted by: Raidersfan2 | September 22, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

The salon is a private business, they can charge whatever they want. Grow up, Bell.

Posted by: jckdoors | September 22, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Obviously this guy has no self esteem...why else would you give up your dignity over $2?
This guy and the one who filed the lawsuit over the pants with the dry cleaner for like $2 million should get together and set up a practice specializing in frivolous lawsuits filed to get headlines.

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | September 22, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

"I couldn't even go to dinner because I was so upset". I am lauging my buns off. Mr. Bell, from your photo you don't look like you've ever missed a meal in your life.

Posted by: gladiatorgal | September 22, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

TWO DOLLARS???? There are people in this city who WISH they had 2 dollars in their pockets right now. And, he's bitching over such a pittance?

Posted by: linroy62 | September 22, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I'd charge DOUBLE to do a pedicure on big stinky man feet.

Posted by: kbockl | September 22, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

This man should be disbarred for cloging our courts with frivolous law suits. Life is not always fair...get the chip off your shoulder!!

Posted by: katesgram | September 22, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

My first reaction was, "Ha! It's about time a man was charged more for services. Women are charged more all the time!" Upon further reflection, if it's not right for a woman to be charged more, it's not right for a man to be charged more either. I do, however, think Mr. Bell's reaction may have been a bit overblown. I can't imagine letting a $4 difference ruin your dinner date leads to much more dating, nor is $200,000 a reasonable amount to sue for.

Posted by: talleyl | September 22, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

What do you call 5,000,000 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean? A great start.

Posted by: biffgrifftheoneandonly | September 22, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

My wife drops the same amount of money at one hair appointment that I spend in a calendar year of barbershop visits. Two bucks? This guy wants to stir the pot over two bucks?

Posted by: mlantry | September 22, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Instead of shamelessly suing the salon's owners, this fat metrosexual should be thanking them for helping him to skip dinner -- something he should be doing do regularly.

Posted by: NorplantNow | September 22, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Don't blame the lawyer, blame a big intrusive Keynesian government culture where lawyers like this can thrive.

Posted by: jhope432 | September 22, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I'm so sorry you couldn't go out to dinner, Mr. Bell, because you were charged $2 extra. Unfortunately, your frivolous lawsuit will cost this small business so much to defend that they will be lucky to eat at all. Good job putting another nail in the lawyer reputation coffin. I'm embarassed to be sharing a profession with you.

Now, as a practical matter, look at the picture. What are the odds this man's hands are the same size as the average woman's? Maybe the nail salon owner was not fluent enough in English to explain that because male hands tend to be larger, and tend to have rougher skin and thicker nails than female hands as a simple biological matter, that they are charged more to reflect the additional work they typically require.

Posted by: notablanda2000 | September 22, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Wowo he is full of BS and the type of lawyer that lives up to the stereotype of attorneys. I am still trying to figure out how he came up with teh amount of $200K. I'm sure the judge assigned to the will also be questioning that amount.

Posted by: mselmo32 | September 22, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Doesn't look like he has missed many other dinners!

Posted by: BEEPEE | September 22, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Good luck to him. Despite what the article says, dry cleaners in DC still charge women more to launder and iron shirts (and I mean cotton or cotton blend shirts NOT silk blouses) though it is illegal in DC to set prices based on gender. I have had so many fights with cleaners over this issue that I gave up and just wash and iron them myself. I would happily pay to have this done but not more than a man pays. So the stupid cleaners are out hundreds of dollars of business every year because they won't follow the law.

Posted by: pirate1 | September 22, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

It's comical that this metrosexual is worried about making his hands all pretty while ignoring the fact that underneath the nice, tailored suit he's disgustingly obese by any interpretion of the word. Have you no mirrors in your house?

I would bet if this guy joined a gym and broke the first treadmill he stepped-on because he exceeded it's maximum weight capacity that he would sue the gym and the treadmill maker for the embarrassment it caused him.

Posted by: dabagley | September 22, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

that I gave up and just wash and iron them myself.

===========================

Excellent! You will make some man a good wife one of these days!

Posted by: nonamehere | September 22, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

"lawyer with a knack for the headline-making case"

Pretty much says it all. The man is a jerk. Costing the salon full of hardworking people time and money. Causing them stress leading to illnesses and losing everything they worked for as what happened to the idiot judge and his stupid pants lawsiuts. Clogging the courts which have more important things to do.

This is what gives lawyers the bad reputation they have. Overpaid, selfish, inconsiderate, attantion grabbing babies that have abdolutely NO consideration for anyone els.

Pathetic.

Posted by: FutureTense | September 22, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

"lawyer with a knack for the headline-making case" --- Pretty much says it all.

He should be embarrassed. The woman he was with should be embarrassed. His parents should be appalled they raised this overpaid baby. All intelligent lawyers should be embarrassed.

The man is a jerk. Costing the salon full of hardworking people time and money. Causing them stress leading to illnesses and losing everything they worked for as is what happened to the cleaners in the idiot judge and his stupid pants lawsuit. Clogging the courts which have more important things to do.

This is what gives lawyers the bad reputation they have. Overpaid, selfish, inconsiderate, attention grabbing show-offs who have absolutely NO consideration for anyone else.

Pathetic.

Lawyers who bring assinine, frivolous lawsuits should be disbarred and fined a million dollars.

Posted by: FutureTense | September 22, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Assuming the pricing for men's and women's manicures is posted, he could have reasonably made an effort to notice the disparity and acted accordingly.

What's most disturbing about this egregious lawsuit is that win or lose, the poor nail salon will be forced to shell out thousands of dollars in legal fees to defend themselves.

Posted by: MarkT27 | September 22, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I hope there's an attorney out there willing to take on the nail salon's defense pro bono.

This jack*ss should face a counter-suit.

Posted by: MarkT27 | September 22, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Waaaaaaaaaaa
Waaaaaaaaaaa
Waaaaaaaaaaa
[hiccup for air]
Waaaaaaaaaaa
Waaaaaaaaaaa
Waaaaaaaaaaa

-Baby Boy Bell's typical closing summation to a jury


Plus, we've all overlooked the truly heinous event here: he was so upset that he couldn't go to dinner but what about his invited guest? Nothing happened to upset her, poor lady, and because her date is a big whiny spheroid, she loses out on a dinner out? So he's a crybaby AND a cad.

Posted by: 7900rmc | September 22, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Cracking up over these comments!! LOL! BUT...he does have a valid case. There is no reason to charge men more for what is likely even LESS work, since men don't typically get their nails painted.

Posted by: PepperDr | September 22, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

The guy's right: His point is that he shouldn't be charged more for being a man considering his manicure and pedicure were LESS work. Pretty logical.

Lady's pay more for haircuts because on avergage their haricuts take longer.

Posted by: Wallenstein | September 22, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I agree the price should be the same for men and women. I can't think of any reason why they would be different.

With that said, no man, even the biggest $%#^%y of a man, shouldn't be getting his nails done.

Posted by: BigBubba1 | September 22, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

While he's at it, I wish he'd sue the makers of ladies underwear. What women pay for one pair of underwear, men can get a six pack.

Posted by: Nghbrhdwatch | September 22, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

In most instances, under local public accommodations ordinances, gender based pricing is unlawful under local. The agreed usually files a complaint with the local office of human rights, who conducts an investigation. If the cvharge is proven to be true, the appropraite remedy is usually reimbursement for the differnce, perhaps a small amount of money as nuisance settlement and an agreement to eliminate gender based pricing their services. If this fellow is a practicing attorney, he should know this and file a frivilous law-suit.

Posted by: PracticalIndependent | September 22, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Everyone claims equal rights or women's lib when it's convenient. This is a blatant case of gender discrimination. This point cannot be argued.

LOL - It's like the feminist that wants me to give up my seat to a woman on the metro because it's chivalrous.

I hope futuretense or kbock aren't women. And if they are, best get started making my dinner!

Posted by: Gary34 | September 22, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Those who say this policy can be attributed to nothing but gender discrimination must either be men with feminine hands or women with masculine hands. Anyone else should know that, in the vast majority of cases, there will be anatomical differences between the two, starting with size, but also including nail thickness (as noted by notablanda2000 above), roughness and typically more unkempt nails (less frequent manicures mean more work to do, whether in men or women). This type of complaint would seem justified only coming from a man whose hands are virtually indistinguishable from women's (perhaps a small-handed man who gets regular manicures). Mr. Bell seems unlikely to fit that profile.

Please don't judge all lawyers by Mr. Bell and his ilk. Most toil long hours doing honest work for substantially less pay.

Posted by: HImom | September 22, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Manicure, should have went to the gym. But I have to agree, woman want everything the same, so it should work the same way. Nut on the other hand, woman's hair cuts, even if its a cut cost more than men. Keep up the good work big fella.

Posted by: phillipt | September 22, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Whether or not his case has any merit - I respect both the gender-neutral-pricing and the legitimate-gender-based-task-differential arguments here - Mr. Bell is behaving like an immature, publicity-seeking jerk. (A la Roy Pearson, DC's infamous pant-a-loon.)

So I hope he gets NAILED in court.

Posted by: nan_lynn | September 22, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

As a blackman I am sad to hear that this chump is actually trying to sue a nail salon for $200,000. What's wrong, Mr Tate is your pratice not doing well? By the looks of his picture, they probably thought his fat fingers was extra work. So, they had every right to charge him two extra dollars,

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | September 23, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Bell, though, says he was directly and personally victimized by the salon's pricing plan. "The last thing that I thought that would happen to me in this county is that someone would discriminate against me," he said. "I couldn't even go to dinner, I was so upset."
----------------------------
Yeah right you couldn't go to dinner, Mr. Bell. I bet you did go and even licked your manicured fingers after you ate that slab of ribs, you greedy she/he.

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | September 23, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

This is the lowest of the low type of people that Bell belongs to. Picking on people who hard-work for just 2 bucks? He is not ashamed of himself because of his thick skin and sick-in-the-head mind. He probably has no d... that all real men have.
I would bar him from entering my business.

Posted by: befair4 | September 25, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Pricing more or less is what the business owners decide for their business. If you don't like it go somewhere else. The prices do reflect many criteria: time, complexity, and market. His rough thick skin could make the manicurist had to work harder, his stinky face could have polluted the salon. The point is that this Bell is allowed to drag people to court for such silliness. It's a real ding dong bell... Mr. Bell, you stink!!!

Posted by: befair4 | September 25, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Damm... look at this big Guy ...If he comes to my salon i 'd charge him $20 ...i am sure his feet are stinky and dirty... Most the nail salon have different price for men and ladies because it always takes longer time to finish the men......i think you should prepare $200k to pay for the salon you are going to sue....gezzz good luck silly thought...grow up man!!!!

Posted by: htruong2009 | September 27, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

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