Woman sues Google over walking directions

How many times have you stopped a motorist for running a light, going the wrong way on a one way street, or driving on an excluded way (Washington St. in Downtown Crossing comes to mind) only to have them blame their “mistake” on GPS? Well, depending on the outcome of this case, it just may be the fault of the GPS.

From the Associated Press:

SALT LAKE CITY—A pedestrian injured by a motorist while following an online route has filed a lawsuit claiming Google Inc. supplied unsafe directions.

Lauren Rosenberg filed a lawsuit on Thursday seeking more than $100,000 in U.S. District Court in Utah. It also named a motorist she says hit her.

Rosenberg used her phone in January to download directions from one end of Park City to the other.

Google Maps led her to a four-lane boulevard without sidewalks that was “not reasonably safe for pedestrians,” according to the lawsuit filed by the Northridge, Calif., resident.

The case has become a sensation on tech blogs, websites and cable television channels, with critics assailing the woman for ignoring her own safety to blindly follow online directions. Her lawyer, Allen Young, said the truth was different.

Rosenberg believed she could reach a sidewalk on the other side of Deer Valley Drive and tried to cross the boulevard, but didn’t even make it to the median, he said.

She was struck by a speeding car on a pitch-black night and received multiple bone fractures that required six weeks of rehabilitation, Young added.

“We think there’s enough fault to go around, but Google had some responsibility to direct people correctly or warn them,” Young said. “They created a trap with walking instructions that people rely on. She relied on it and thought she should cross the street.”

Rosenberg is seeking compensation for medical bills, plus more for lost wages and punitive damages. The lawsuit provided no other information about the woman, who has been misidentified online as a Los Angeles publicist by the same name.

Young said the woman is a native of Northridge in her mid-20s and is unemployed. No phone listing could be found for her.

Google spokeswoman Elaine Filadelfo said the company had not received a copy of the lawsuit and couldn’t discuss it, but she disputed Young’s assertion that Google Maps provides no warning that walking routes may be missing sidewalks or pedestrian paths.

Every software version for desktop computers and mobile devices has had that disclaimer since Google Maps was launched in 2008, she said.

Park City police said some segments of Deer Valley Drive have sidewalks but not the stretch that Rosenberg reached. The boulevard has a walking path on the side Rosenberg failed to reach, police Capt. Rick Ryan said.

Young said the walking path was “totally snowpacked” and of no use to pedestrians in January.

About Attorney John J. MacLaughlan

John MacLaughlan is Massachusetts licensed attorney as well as a Boston police officer. John is currently assigned to the Youth Violence Strike Force (Gang Unit). He is a graduate of the Massachusetts School of Law with a concentration in Labor Law. He holds a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell as well as a Bachelors Degree in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. John has taught Defensive Tactics, Firearms, Use of Force, Applied Patrol Procedures, and Police Response to Active Shooters to sworn police officers and police academy recruits. Prior to becoming a Boston Police Officer, John served for 9 years as a police officer in Lowell, where he was a member of the Police Dive Team and Patrol Rifle Team.
This entry was posted in General. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s