In response to litigation brought by the Institute for Justice, the Louisiana State Board of Cosmetology adopted a regulation exempting eyebrow threaders from receiving an esthetician’s license.
The threaders’ fight began in 2016, when the Institute for Justice (IJ) sued the Board on behalf of the Threading Studio & Spa—a Metairie business, owned by Lata Jagtiani—and two of the threaders who work there, Ushaben Chudasama and Panna Shah. The lawsuit challenged the constitutionality of a Louisiana law that required eyebrow threaders to spend 750 hours and thousands of dollars to obtain a pointless esthetician’s license.
The Board initially moved to dismiss the lawsuit, but Judge R. Michael Caldwell of the 19th Judicial District Court denied the motion in February 2017, allowing the case to proceed. Rather than defend the law in court, the Board then began the long process of carving out an exemption for eyebrow threaders from the conventional cosmetology rules.
This case is interesting for two reasons. First, instead of providing broad relief to entrepreneurs licensed by the board, the issued regulation instead exempts a subset of cosmetology workers. Second, it only took a serious threat of litigation to get the board to reverse course.
Legal challenges to other licenses have made their way to the US Supreme Court, but the fact that the prospect of a protracted legal battle is enough to convince licensing boards to roll back their regressive regulations is a promising development for licensing reform.