Suit Against Google Maps Falls Short on Causation Element

Hat tip to Abnormal Use:  The Unreasonably Dangerous Products Liability Blog for advising me about this Utah lawsuit.

Apparently, a  woman followed Google Maps walking directions on her Blackberry, walking  across  a four-lane highway where she was struck by an approaching vehicle. She  sued Google; here is a copy of the suit.

Her lawyer says that  the plaintiff f was walking in an area she had never been before, at a time when it was very dark, and that Google failed to warn the Plaintiff that walking routes may be missing sidewalks or pedestrian paths.  Here is an image of the scene from Google. Google says that every software version for mobile devices has had a disclaimer that advises walkers to use caution since Google Maps was launched in 2008.

The crux of the Plaintiff’s lawsuit appears to be that the woman crossed the road believing there to be a sidewalk on the other side. According to her lawyer, on the other side of the road was a snow covered walkway that was of no use to pedestrians.
 It seems to me that a big problem in the case is that the plaintiff,  according to her own lawyer, wasn’t half-way across the street before she walked directly into the path of an oncoming vehicle.   This seems to destroy the causation element of plaintiff’s claim.  "I got hurt going to a place you sent me where I might have got hurt" is a tough causation argument to make.

I hope that the plaintiff’s lawyer here is not relying on this case to meet his monthly (or even daily) overhead.  While I can whip up a scenario where there could be liability on Google maps, the facts as pleaded in this case don’t come close to establishing  liability in my mind.   If they do, I am opening up an office in Utah and making a down-payment on this cabin on Big Saint Germain Lake in my beloved Northern Wisconsin.

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