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HAIR WARS: Bellevue shop must return ousted stylist's gear

Premier Salons Inc. "schemed" with The Bellevue to remove hair salon owner, then took his equipment; Judge Brody says to give it back

For 30+ years, Joseph Cutrufello operated Pierre & Carlo hair salon at The Bellevue on South Broad. Last Oct. 23, "The Bellevue ousted Pierre & Carlo from the Premises" and brought in Canada-based hairstyling chain Premier Salons Inc., writes US District Court Judge Anita Brody in this memorandum.

Premier and Bellevue "had been scheming about the takeover for months," and the new operator kept Pierre & Carlo's equipment, including "hydraulic tables for massages and facials,"  and signed up most of its employees, who included "18 stylists, 4 assistants, 4 massage therapists, 4 aestheticians, 2 nail technicians," among others, Brody noted.

Premier told Cutrufello he could still work there, then fired him when he showed up. His salon had been "in debt," - Premier says his salon was "significantly" behind in its rent -but his salon also "increasing sales and reducing overhead," and had identified a potential investor, Brody wrote. Cutrufello's lawsuit demanded Premier give back his people, stuff and customer lists, and he asked Brody for a preliminary injunction giving it all back while the case proceeded.

Brody ordered Premier not to use the Pierre & Carlo name, to give up Pierre & Carlo's furniture, fixtures and equipment, and to tell customers the salon is no longer affiliated with Pierre & Carlo, pending the posting of a bond, to be set at June 2 hearing.

UPDATE: Premier is "shocked" by the decision, thinks it should get credit for saving workers' jobs, and is "considering an appeal," lawyer Chad Shultz of Ford & Harrison LLP, Atlanta, told me. Neil E. Jokelson & Associates PC represented Cutrufello. 

Premier, based in Calgary, Canada, says it runs more than 100 salons around the country, including several at upstate Pennsylvania Boscov's stores and one at the Gallery on Market East. The firm has renamed the Bellevue store with its "Halcyon" brand. The separate Pierre & Carlo Salon in Wyncote is not currently associated with Cutrufello, according to the people who work there.