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Rihanna-Endorsed Lipstick Gave Woman Herpes, Lawsuit Claims

By Betty Wang, JD | Last updated on

A woman from Harlem is claiming that a Rihanna-endorsed lipstick gave her herpes.

Starkeema Greenidge, 28, was at a Rihanna concert in Brooklyn where a MAC Cosmetics representative let her sample a used stick of "RiRi Woo."

A couple days later, Greenidge says she discovered a cold sore on her lip, which her doctor subsequently diagnosed as herpes. She couldn't work for two weeks, an ordeal that "cost me a lot of money," she told the New York Daily News.

Painful mouth sores aside, does Greenidge actually have a case?

She probably does -- though not against Rihanna.

Negligence Over Lip Service

A standard negligence claim occurs when, generally speaking, someone has accidentally done something that results in an injury. In Greenridge's case, she can potentially allege that the MAC representative was being careless in handing her a used stick of lipstick to try on, or possibly that MAC was negligent in not properly training their employees regarding proper sanitary measures when letting patrons sample.

Negligence requires a duty of care, a breach, causation, and damages. Here's what each of these factors means:

  • Duty. It can be argued that a MAC employee has a duty to provide proper, sanitary customer service.
  • Breach. If that duty has not been upheld, there is a breach.
  • Causation. Was the resulting harm was actually caused by the defendant? And was the harm foreseeable?
  • Damages. This is the easy part. If there was any kind of harm or damage resulting from the allegedly negligent act, this factor is fulfilled.

Potential Product Liability

In addition to the negligence claim, Greenridge may also raise a product liability issue. Product liability claims generally happen when a product (which needs to be proven as defective, dangerous, or at least having left the hands of a merchant) injures someone.

Regardless of what legal claims there may be in this case, at least RiRi is getting a break of sorts -- in that this lipstick herpes lawsuit has nothing to do with her or Chris Brown.

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