Posted June 1, 2010 3:00 pm by with 0 comments

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*This is only the case if the Google Maps user is a complete idiot.

It must be a slow news day when we have to resort to the “stupid human tricks that end up in court” kind of stories that make any thinking person scratch their head and ask “Are you kidding me?” Fortunately, this kind of filler is readily available so let’s look at what has reached the court system in Utah.

SearchEngineLand gives us some of the details

The case, Rosenberg v. Harwood, was filed in Utah, in the US District Court’s Central Division (Gary Price of ResourceShelf tipped us to it today). Harwood is Patrick Harwood, the person who actually hit Rosenberg, according to the suit. Both Harwood and Google are being sued in the same case, for damages “in excess of $100,000.”

Rosenberg used Google Maps on January 19, 2009, via her Blackberry, to get directions between 96 Daly Street, Park City, Utah and 1710 Prospector Avenue, Park City, Utah. Google provided these, telling her as part of the route to walk for about 1/2 mile along the calm-sounding “Deer Valley Drive.”
That’s an alternative name for that section of Utah State Route 224, a highway that lacks sidewalks, the case says. Rosenberg wasn’t warned about this, putting Google directly at fault in the accident, the case claims:

Defendant Google, through its “Google Maps” service provided Plaintiff Lauren Rosenberg with walking directions that led her out onto Deer valley Drive, a.k.a. State Route 224, a rural highway wit no sidewalks, and a roadway that exhibits motor vehicles traveling at high speeds, that is not reasonably safe for pedestrians.

The Defendant Google expects uses of the walking map site to rely on the accuracy of the walking directions given….

As a direct and proximate cause of Defendant Google’s careless, reckless, and negligent providing of unsafe directions, Plaintiff Laren Rosenberg was led onto a dangerous highway, and was thereby stricken by a motor vehicle…

Danny Sullivan does a great job of providing screenshots showing how the walking directions are marked as a beta service but whether that happens on a BlackBerry is unknown. I can’t find my BlackBerry Storm to test this since I threw it somewhere in disgust and have decided to not look for it right now.

The net / net of this one is simple in my estimation. It’s no wonder the rest of the world stands open-mouthed at the sheer silliness of what can be called a court case here in the US. I mean really. Sure, Google could do a better job of ensuring these type of directions are not delivered but what else are they supposed to do, provide an escort for every person seeking guidance to make sure they don’t wander off into traffic?

I do have one other question. Was this plaintiff also carrying a cup of hot coffee that then spilled on her and is there a lawsuit pending there as well?