(08-09) 12:08 PDT -- The mother of a Sunnyvale woman who died in June has sued a Mountain View nail salon that she blames for her daughter's year-long battle against an infection associated with bacteria that can be transmitted through foot spas. Diana Mears filed the wrongful death lawsuit in Santa Clara County Superior Court on Thursday on behalf of her daughter Jessica. The suit maintains that Top Hair and Nails failed to follow basic hygiene practices when its employees gave Jessica a pedicure on Nov. 24, 2004. The result, according to the suit, was a 4-by-6-inch lesion on her left calf, diagnosed as a mycobacterium infection. Jessica Mears died June 20 in El Camino Hospital. The attorney representing the nail salon called the lawsuit baseless and said her clients meticulously comply with all mandatory cleaning requirements, which are set by the state. "In June of 2005, they voluntarily participated in a study on salon health by the Santa Clara County Department of Health and received a Certificate of Appreciation for the same. They have never received a complaint about their salon from any other customers," San Jose attorney Anne Miller said in a prepared statement. Miller also said that prior to the pedicure in question, Jessica Mears had a long and complicated medical history with lupus, a chronic disease that impairs the immune system. "She had been hospitalized on numerous occasions prior to the pedicure for treatment of lupus and other debilitating diseases. She was quite ill for many years. Although her death is unfortunate, there is simply no known medical evidence that the pedicure she received at my clients' salon played any role in her death," Miller said. Diana Mears and her attorney could not be reached for comment this morning. In recent years, there have been three such bacterial outbreaks reported to the California State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, board spokesman Kevin Flanagan said. The first occurred in 2000 in Santa Cruz County. Santa Clara County was hit in 2004, and in 2005, Contra Costa County experienced an outbreak. The Santa Clara County incidents involved 33 salons and 143 customers. Top Hair and Nails was not among those salons. After the 2000 outbreak, the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention swabbed 30 footbaths in 18 nail salons from five California counties and found mycobacteria in 97 percent of them. Mycobacteria fortuitum was the most common, according to a CDC report. The report states that mycobacteria were recovered whether or not disinfectants were reportedly used and whether or not debris was visible behind the recirculation screen of the foot spa. "The 2000 outbreak might have been a warning of what can happen again if this emerging infection is not adequately addressed," the report warned. The California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology heeded that warning and adopted new regulations in May of 2001 requiring nail salons to follow more specific cleaning and disinfection procedures. In 2005, the board created a task force that developed additional foot spa safety regulations -- complete with more detailed instructions on how to clean the spas -- which were recently approved by the board but have not been implemented. They have yet to make their way through public hearings and a state approval process, which could take a year, Flanagan said. The new regulations would increase fines to $500 per foot spa chair that isn't clean enough, require remedial training of staff and allow the board to put a licensee on probation for up to a year if found in violation of health laws. Meanwhile, consumers should learn how to protect themselves, Flanagan said. "It's a lot like going to a restaurant," Flanagan said. "If the place looks dirty, get out." He said the consumer should make sure the salon has a valid operating license from the state and see if equipment is being cleaned between customers. A customer also can ask to view the salon's cleaning logs. WOW!