In Dosanjh v. Satori Laser Ctr. Corp. (App. Div. 1st Dept. Apr. 16, 2015) – a personal injury case arising from burns sustained by the plaintiff during a laser hair removal procedure – the court discussed the limitations on the doctrine of “res ipsa loquitur” in a negligence case.
The court unanimously reversed the Supreme Court’s order granting summary judgment for plaintiff on the issue of liability. It explained:
Plaintiff seeks to raise the inference of negligence by the application of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur. However, she failed to present expert evidence, or any other evidence, to establish that the burns she allegedly suffered as the result of a laser hair removal treatment were the kind of injuries that ordinarily do not occur in the absence of negligence. Indeed, the “Treatment Consent and Release” she signed included among the risks of the treatment “discomfort, redness, [and] blistering,” which suggests that burns resulting in redness and scarring may be common side effects of laser hair removal. Without expert testimony or other evidence as to the standard of care in performing laser hair removal and the known risks of the procedure, there is no evidentiary basis for a conclusion that the presence of the burns inescapably demonstrates negligence.