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Stylist, client will feud on air

Sued for alleged shoddy work on a client's hair extensions, local stylist "Mr. Thom" expounds his expertise today on the nationally syndicated "Judge Judy" show.

The episode pitting Thom Martin against Central Point resident Dawn Kruchoski airs at 11 a.m. on the local ABC affiliate, KDRV. Viewers can expect dispute over Kruchoski's bald spots caused by extensions Martin applied while drinking on the job, according to the show's Web site.

"This lady decided it was hair extensions gone wrong," Martin said. Martin roundly denied that 16-inch lengths of treated hair he affixed to Kruchoski's head caused bare patches. The extensions, Martin said, came loose because Kruchoski went parasailing within the 48 hours clients are warned against washing their hair. While brushing her hair, Kruchoski's husband pulled out the extensions, Martin said.

"She did not have bald spots."

Kruchoski, 41, declined to talk about specifics of the case, citing a confidentiality agreement with "Judge Judy." A spokesman for the show confirmed that litigants sign such a clause.

Yet Kruchoski did indicate that judge Judy Sheindlin had it in for her.

"She was completely against doing hair extensions," Kruchoski said, adding that Sheindlin ranted and raved about the case, as is her custom on her TV-broadcast cases.

Martin, 56, said he tried to convince Kruchoski, a first-time client, that the extensions were too long and incompatible with her hair. He performed the procedure at his South Stage Road studio anyway because he comes from the "old school" where the "customer is always right." He said he adjusted the extensions several times free of charge before Kruchoski decided she wanted them removed and demanded a refund.

Martin said he has about 170 extension clients, who typically pay between $300 and $700 for the procedure depending on their length and type of hair. As for the allegation of drinking on the job, Martin said he serves wine at his studio and neighboring bed and breakfast. He, personally, nurses a single glass all day, Martin claimed.

"We drink a lot out here," he joked.

Kruchoski did file a small-claims suit in December seeking a $5,000 judgment against Martin in Jackson County Circuit Court. Circuit Court Judge Ray White dismissed the case last month, according to court records.

While Sheindlin's courtroom has no legal jurisdiction, petitioners must agree that arbitration in her court is final and cannot be pursued elsewhere. "Judge Judy" producers scan dockets in real courts and request files so they can solicit complainants, said Circuit Court Operations Supervisor Bob Kleker. Representatives for such reality courtroom shows visit Jackson County every few months, he added.

A former New York family court judge, Sheindlin retired from the bench in 1996, according to her Web site.

Reach reporter Sarah Lemon at 776-4487, or e-mail slemon@mailtribune.com.

Judge Judy Sheindlin will hear arguments from local stylist Thom Martin, who is accused of allegedly botching hair extensions he applied for Dawn Kruchoski.