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Thursday, June 20, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Be Prepared

Now that the horrible fires in Southern California seem to have died out (or at least I hope they have by the time you read this), it's time to start preparing for what comes next: the fire insurance litigation season.

Oh sure, you might think, that's a few years away, but planning is the key to surviving any natural disaster.

So, as a public service, here are a few things you should be thinking about:

Sue now. Why wait? Show your insurance company you're serious about your rights by filing suit before it has a chance to shortchange you.

Sure, you might get hit with some court costs, but your adjustors are going to know you're waiting for them to make one little mistake.

You'll end up ahead in the long run.

Take pictures of everything. No, not the damage. Photograph or videotape the claims adjustors and the insurance agents and anyone who shows up to do reconstruction.

They need to know they're being watched.

Don't be afraid to imply you have a friend working for 60 Minutes or Dateline.

Consider tourism. You'll probably need some extra cash while you suffer through insurance litigation season, so think about teaming up with your neighbors to offer guided tours of the disaster area.

Think about what happens on the freeway when there's an impressive accident. People want to see this stuff. So you might as well cash in.

If you can manage it, scatter some personal photos (they don't have to be yours) amidst the rubble and hire child actors to cry when tour groups come through.

And set up snack bars and gift shops in trailers throughout the neighborhood.

Just make sure they don't look too nice.

Grow crops. If you're going to have to wait a decade to get the money to rebuild, you might as well put the land to good use.

Just don't plant anything that will dry out.

BUT YOU DO LOOK MORE BEAUTIFUL WITHOUT LICE. The following is from a complaint filed in federal court in Los Angeles: "Plaintiffs allege that head lice removal does not constitute the practice of barbering or cosmetology as those practices are defined by clearly established existing law."

That's the sort of thing you might think was self-evident but, at least according to the lawsuit, California's Board of Barbering and Cosmetology has cited the plaintiffs for the unlicensed practice of cosmetology.

An administrative law judge ruled that head lice removal does not indeed "fall within the scope of barbering and cosmetology," but the state Board allegedly keeps trying to force the plaintiffs to get cosmetology licenses.

Pause. Think about this.

Apparently you need a license to put makeup on someone but, at least according to the plaintiffs, you don't need a license to remove head lice.

Doesn't seem right somehow. Isn't lice removal a tad more sensitive than haircutting?

Style trumps substance once again.

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