FindLaw columnist Eric Sinrod writes regularly in this section on legal developments surrounding technology and the internet.
Google's attorneys have seen all manner of lawsuits come across their desks. The search giant gets blamed for a lot of things. Here's another:
Google was sued recently for injuries sustained after a pedestrian was injured by a car after she used Google Maps - she alleged that Google did not adequately warn her of the dangers of automobiles in the area.
Not surprisingly, the judge dismissed the case, holding that Google did not have a duty to warn the pedestrian that crossing the particular street could be dangerous.
In Rosenberg v. Harwood, the plaintiff in the Utah District Court case was hit by an automobile when she tried to cross a road in a country area. She asserted that she was using the instructions from Google Maps when crossing the road. Not only did she sue the driver of the car that hit her, but she also sued Google for failing to warn her of pedestrian perils of crossing this road.
Even though Google provided her with customized search results for her Google Maps directions, the court held that Google did not have a heightened duty of care toward the plaintiff, as this type of information is also available to the general public.
Plus, as the court recognized, the potential dangers in this situation could be readily apparent to the pedestrian and she had responsibility to take care for herself to ensure that she not get hit by a car.
Indeed, even though we now are in the information age, we do need to lift our heads away from our hand-held devices, look around, and be aware of the real world around us!
Eric Sinrod is a partner in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris LLP (http://www.duanemorris.com) where he focuses on litigation matters of various types, including information technology and intellectual property disputes. His Web site is http://www.sinrodlaw.com and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. To receive a weekly email link to Mr. Sinrod's columns, please send an email to him with Subscribe in the Subject line. This column is prepared and published for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author's law firm or its individual partners.
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