A bailiff's announcement to a courtroom to "please be seated" took on additional meaning this week in New York, when a former stripper received a cash settlement for what might be called a botched butt job.
In 1990, former exotic dancer Mary Gale, 43, underwent $6,500 worth of plastic surgery to enhance her buttocks. The doctor used silicone breast implants. "Horrified" at the results, she sued her physician, alleging malpractice, negligence, pain and suffering, lost income and mental anguish.
"I looked like I had two (breasts) on my butt," she testified to the court. "This doctor ruined my body. I'm hoping other women won't have to go through what I had to go through, especially the humiliation."
Gale's attorney, Cynthia Matheke, told the jury that the cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Elliot Jacobs, did not inform Gale that he would be inserting breast implants into her buttocks. Gale's position was that if she had known this, she would never have consented to the surgery.
Jacobs' lawyer, Paul Paley, argued that Gale was a "plastic surgery junkie," who had gone under the beauty knife at least six times, and was rarely happy with any of the results.
"As malpractice verdicts go," claimed the attorney, "this $30,000 has almost nothing but nuisance value."
For his part in the buttock drama, Jacobs testified that he "did everything by the book. I believe to this day that I did everything right."
Gale ultimately received the $30,000, both sets of attorneys declared victory and the courtroom stood up and left.