Law: Oyez! Don't Touch That Dial

The People's Court brings real-life cases to the TV screen

The courtroom door swings open to the beat of music that sounds like a cross between . the themes from Hollywood Squares and Mission: Impossible. In stride Plaintiffs Katharina and Max Binder, the angry owners of Binder's Scissor Styling. Next come the defendants, Ray Cason and his daughter Michelle, 12. At issue: $43 that Cason refused to pay the Binders for a permanent that Michelle got in their salon one afternoon. Cason claimed that the permanent failed to hold up through Michelle's birthday party that evening.

The case is a typical small-claims dispute,...

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