Canadian Tourist Sues Las Vegas Tattoo Studio Over Botched Ink Job


Dusk was setting in on the neon-drenched cityscape of Las Vegas. A tourist visiting from British Columbia, Canada was excitedly making her way through the frenetic streets. Melissa’s excitement stemmed from the anticipation of getting her very first tattoo, a long-anticipated mother-son bonding experience. However, the allure of Sin City would soon unravel into a nightmare of regret and pain, leading Melissa to a decision to sue Illuminati Tattoo, the parlor that would taint her memory of Las Vegas forever.

Melissa and her son had chosen the famed Illuminati Tattoo studio, nestled just off the city’s vibrant Strip, following rave reviews from countless satisfied customers on Yelp. Perhaps the remarkably broad positive praises should’ve triggered a mental alarm, yet the anticipation of an unforgettable mother-son experience overwhelmed any trepidation. The pair marched into the studio, blissfully unaware of the horrid experience that awaited Melissa.

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While her son’s tattoo turned out as expected, Melissa’s did not. The artist who worked on her left much to be desired. She recounted her ordeal to KLAS-TV, recalling moments during the inking process when her artist, whose license she later discovered to be invalid, struggled. The artist repeatedly worked without ink and removed his gloves midway, as beads of sweat dripped off his forehead. His actions were further clouded by forgetting to clean her thigh before initiating the tattoo and alarming physiological signs, like dilated pupils and slurred speech, that suggested possible substance abuse.

At some point, alarm bells started ringing in her son’s mind. With a puzzled look across his face, Melissa’s son began documenting with his phone what was quickly turning into a piercing ordeal, and not due to the intentional sharp objects.

Leaving the shop, Melissa began to receive apologetic text messages from the very artist who had ruined her experience. He even went as far as begging her not to sue the shop and its owner, a gentleman named David LePenske. LePenske, Melissa says, revealed his artist to be a longtime friend who had overcome a dark history of drug addiction and was in a process of rehabilitation. He confessed to hiring his friend as an act of faith, trusting in his friend’s eight-month sobriety milestone.

When Melissa filed a complaint with the Southern Nevada Health District, they discovered multiple violations — the artist did not hold an active body art card, neglected to procure a consent form from Melissa, and utilized sterilized equipment with missing expiration dates. A KLAS investigation also revealed that the artist no longer held employment at the shop, with Illuminati Tattoo later declaring a “zero tolerance for substance use while on duty”. Furthermore, by May, Illuminati Tattoo’s business license was listed as revoked after previously being defaulted due to failure to renew for the upcoming fiscal years.

As an irrefutable sign of remorse, LePenske had, Melissa stated, agreed to finance the procedure of laser tattoo removal. But the experience was already ingrained in her memories. To Melissa, what was supposed to be a fun trip to one of the world’s tattooing capitals had quickly soured. Despite her regret, her tale serves as a stark reminder that all that glitters in the City of Lights isn’t necessarily gold, or even a good tattoo.