Saturday, March 10, 2007

Chicago Tattoo Typo Lawsuit

A few days ago I got a tip from Marisa of Needled.com about a man in Chicago suing his tattooist for misspelling his tattoo.



The client, Michael Duplessis, wanted "CHI-TOWN" to be tattooed in capital letters as a tribute to the city of Chicago. However, the tattooist Sam Hacker of Jade Dragon Tattoo & Body Piercing gave him "CHI-TONW".

In a bizarre twist, even when Sam Hacker admitted his mistake and offer to repair the tattoo, a group of his friends are supporting him by getting "CHI-TONW" tattoos.

When I took a quick peek at Jade Dragon Tattoo's gallery, I saw this:


http://www.jadedragontattoo.com/slow/tattoos/oriental/index.htm

I am curious if Mr. Duplessis did win the lawsuit, will I be called as an expert witness to testify at series of lawsuits about botched Chinese character tattoos?


Related: Needled.com, Chicago Tribune, Google News, Yahoo News

21 comments:

  1. I think this was an elaborate April Fool's ruse. Here is a link to another version of this story.

    Please note:
    The mechanic paid $250 for the tattoo on April 1, 2005, according to the suit.

    Also, the guy supposedly tattooed with CHI-TONW looks completely different in this picture.

    And the names in the stories sound bogus. Duplessis sounds a lot like "duplicity" and the names of the tattooists Sam and Mad Hacker are giveaways.

    But the really weird thing is that evidently people are getting real tattoos (or maybe real fake tattoos) to make the fake lawsuit story seem real.

    -Alan

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  2. Oh man, that sucks. But the article was right, sometimes "it happens."
    I wanted the word "violent" tattooed on me, I ended up with vioilent. Notice the extra i *shaked head* It was an artist I trusted, he had done work on me before. He f*cked up, no question, but hey we're all human.

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  3. Alan,

    It may sound like it is an April Fool's joke, however people are actually getting the misspelled "CHI-TONW" tattooed on them.

    It may be some kind of publicity stunt, but there are people lining up to it tattooed as show in this news video:

    http://cbs2chicago.com/local/local_story_068144013.html

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  4. Duplessis is a common French name.

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  5. The second 'different' picture is a mock-up made for that show, using a photograph of one of the presenters' head fixed onto another body. They say so on the clip on that page.

    Duplessis sounds a bit like duplicity, but not enormously, and it isn't really obvious. As for the nickname 'Mad' Hacker, it's not so unbelievable that a tattoo artist might call himself this. 'Sam Hacker' does sound a bit like a made-up character, but it could also be a genuine name (I've heard worse) and his name and photo are listed on the website for the tattoo parlour, which does appear to be a genuine place (it's listed on various business and bodyart pages, etc.).

    So if the place is real but the story *isn't* true, then it would have to either be a slanderous rumour (in which case why haven't they said anything about it?) or be the tattoo parlour itself spreading lies that a customer was so unhappy with their work that they filed a lawsuit, which doesn't seem likely.

    Despite my initial reaction that 'it can't be true', the evidence suggests that it may well be.

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  6. It may sound like it is an April Fool's joke, however people are actually getting the misspelled "CHI-TONW" tattooed on them.

    Yes, possibly the only true part of this story is that a lot of silly people are getting tattoos reading Chi-Tonw.

    The tattoo parlor also appears to be real, and they are probably not unhappy with the publicity.

    The lawsuit itself is probably a hoax. The guy calling himself Sam Hacker seems to be the one perpetrating the hoax, and lots of mainstream media outlets are falling for the story hook, line and sinker. I don't think they are doing their homework.

    The suit was supposedly filed in Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago.

    However, a search of the court docket records here turns up no such suit filed by any Michael Duplessis.

    Interestingly, a guy going by a similar name Michael du Plessis appears to be a professor at USC who has a rather unconventional appearance, with his bald, tattoed head and black clothing. Is there a connection? Who knows?

    -Alan

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  7. The lawsuit itself is probably a hoax.

    As additional evidence that this is in fact a hoax, the guy calling himself Sam Hacker in the video here looks suspciously similar to self-proclaimed "media hacker" Gareth Branwyn in his picture here.

    -Alan

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  8. Anonymous wrote:
    'Sam Hacker' does sound a bit like a made-up character, but it could also be a genuine name (I've heard worse) and his name and photo are listed on the website for the tattoo parlour

    Good catch, anon. But this merely means that the tattoo parlor is in on the hoax. They have no reason not to be, because they are the ones getting all the publicity with their full name and address splashed on all the news articles.

    It might be a little embarrassing to the parlor when the truth comes out, though.

    -Alan

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  9. Perhaps the fishiest aspect to the lawsuit news stories is that none of them include pictures of the actual botched tattoo on the putative plaintiff Duplessis. Surely the plaintiff would need to have such pictures as evidence since the tattoo was supposedly covered up or corrected. And certainly the visual media would want to publish such pictures if they exist.

    The only pictures that appear in the news stories are of tattoos on the associates of Sam Hacker (Gareth Branwyn?) including the main one in this Hanzi Smatter post. Note that the guy with the distinctive chin tattoo appears sitting in the foreground in this picture with "Sam Hacker" standing behind the group.

    Did none of the reporters attempt to contact the plaintiff and get a picture of the tattoo?

    The most reasonable explanation for this enormous gap is that Michael Duplessis, his supposedly botched tattoo and the lawsuit all do not exist.

    -Alan

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  10. Additionally to that deformed hanzi tattoo from the gallery, did you also notice the tattoo with upside-down katakana? (It's in the category 'New School' - the last one in the fourth row.)

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  11. i live in chicago, and there was actually an article about "chi-tonw" lawsuit in chicago newspaper ("RedEye" i believe).

    also i am not surpised about that considering that the fact it's from Jade Dragon Tattoo. Heard a lot of fucked up stories from there...

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  12. Well, this second tattoo (識) just needs one stroke to be correct.

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  13. How would you even pronounce "Chi-Town"? I mean, if you started saying "Chicago," and then switch to "Town" in the middle, that... would not be a place that I'd want to live.

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  14. How would you even pronounce "Chi-Town"?

    I don't really know, but the news articles seem to suggest it's pronounced "shy-town."

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  15. I've always thought that "Chi-town" was pronounced like "Chai-town"... not sure why. Maybe I've heard it on TV somewhere.

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  16. It looks like the case was filed in the Chancery Division:
    2007-CH-03955

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  17. It looks like the case was filed in the Chancery Division:
    2007-CH-03955


    Thanks! I didn't look there. I expected it to be filed in the Civil Division. But that still doesn't explain everything.

    Note where the Case Information Summary says:
    Ad Damnum: $0.00

    This means that the plaintiff is not asking for monetary damages. However, this contradicts the Chicago Tribune article here which says "Duplessis is suing the business and the tattoo artist for monetary damages."

    It is also peculiar that this is a "declaratory judgment complaint" which usually means that the plaintiff is asserting their rights or asking for an injunction or specific performance (in this case, that would mean asking the tattooist to fix the tattoo). But according to the story, the tattooist Hacker offered to fix the tattoo.

    Anyhow, I am not a lawyer but this all still seems very odd. Why would the plaintiff spend $294 in court fees to sue when he paid only $250 for the tattoo?

    Someone obviously wanted to make a "statement" by filing the lawsuit but now I don't really know who did it.

    -Alan

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  18. So maybe it's real after all...?

    I would have assumed right away that it was just publicity for the parlor, were it not for one detail: the suggestion that the parlor had altered the paperwork after the fact to cover their own asses. If I were in the market for a tattoo, I might forgive them an honest spelling error (although I might also request a different artist), but that detail just makes the whole company sound unprofessional.

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  19. "Chi-town" is a common way for people to refer to Chicago, specifically people who are fond of the city. It's like people from Boston calling their city "Bean-town". There's a punk rock gang out there called the "Chi-Town Mafia". It's also reference in a few rap songs. It's not surprising at all that someone from Chicago who is in the tattoo scene would want that on them.

    It's pronounced "Shy-town", by the way, and not "Chai-Town", as the "Ch" in Chicago is a French "Ch", which sounds like an "Sh" in English. I live in New York, but I know a lot of people from Chi-town. Anyway...

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  20. That's what you get for going to Jade Dragon. What a crappy tattoo parlor.

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  21. His name really IS Sam Hacker, btw.. he did my tattoo for me at Rising Phoenix in Addison. He exists, I've met all the other artists in the story, and yes there really are people this stupid in the world.

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