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Nail Salon Can Refuse AIDS Victim, Judge Rules

March 25, 1988

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A West Hollywood nail salon may refuse an AIDS victim a pedicure because there is no conclusive evidence on how the deadly disease is spread, a judge ruled.

A West Hollywood ordinance banning AIDS discrimination ″fails to respect the right not to be involuntarily exposed to a risk of personal harm,″ Superior Court Judge Lawrence Waddington said Wednesday.

Paul Jasperson, 36, had sued Jessica’s Nail Salon for canceling his 1986 appointment after employees overheard him telling an acquaintance he had AIDS. The suit didn’t seek damages, only a court-ordered pedicure.

″It is a health issue, not a civil rights issue,″ Paul Geragos, an attorney for Jessica’s, said Thursday. ″The ordinance is still in place, but the city of West Hollywood took the shotgun approach and made the ordinance so broad it has to be interpreted case-by-case.″

Jasperson’s attorney, Gloria Allred, called the decision ″a slap in the face for the city of West Hollywood, which led the way in the country with this ordinance.″

″This decision leads us into days of darkness and years of fear,″ she said. She said there isn’t ″one documented case in the United States of anyone getting AIDS from a manicure or pedicure.″

Lawyers for Jessica’s Salon had argued that refusal was justified because experts aren’t positive how AIDS is transmitted.

″Is it necessary to maintain your livelihood to expose yourself to the danger of death?″ Geragos asked during the non-jury trial. ″We’re talking about self-protection and self-defense.″

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