Woman breaks nose at Apple store, sues

Evelyn Paswall, 83, is suing Apple for $1 million after walking into the glass door of the Long Island Apple Store and breaking her nose. Her attorney says, "Apple wants to be cool and modern and have the type of architecture that would appeal to the tech crowd, but on the other hand, they have to appreciate the danger that this high-tech modern architecture poses to some people." (CBS New York)



    1. “…they have to appreciate the danger that this high-tech modern architecture poses to some people.”

      Some people don’t believe in watching where they’re going.

    2. The real problem here is kyphosis, which an 83 year-old woman has a good excuse for having.  The rest of us, not so much.

    1.  You’re missing the obvious: She’s in an Apple store.. clearly, she’s unfamiliar with Windows!

  1. So, essentially, we now put the burden on businesses to treat their customers as if they have the brains of birds? Maybe we should start putting stick figure silhouettes on glass doors? Ridiculous. 

    1. …on the other hand, they have to appreciate the danger that this high-tech modern architecture poses to some people.

      I like how they tactfully left out of what kind of people, which you defined so succinctly.

      1. A high school friend of mine took a short cut through a shop and stepped through a glass door he didn’t see. The shop was liable for not marking the glass. We were teenagers so its not really age related.

        1. It’s there to eat your money… Or the result of a graphics department who have lost the ability to ensure that what they’ve designed actually looks like its real-world equivalent.

          Thanks again for giving me something mysterious to Google

    1. Same here in Germany. But I think the idea of punitive damages has some merit, as long as they are tethered to the company’s revenue.  

  2. This Article helps PR firms and hurts people who have been grievously injured by companies please refrain from helping the public relation assholes from removing the rights to sue in Gross negligence by companies.

    The case that really spearheaded tort reform was the McDonald’s hot coffee case, a lawsuit that most people have heard about, but very few know the actual details. Thanks to lawmakers who have vested interests in tort reform in the form of campaign contributions and corporations that used the McDonald’s coffee case as its poster case, what most people think they know is that it’s about an old lady who spilled a little coffee on her lap and got a little burn and won millions of dollars. But what if I told you the car was not in motion, that she was the passenger and that the Mcdonalds manual had the water many degrees above scalding. Plus the amount she was supposed to get was plastered everywhere to make it seem egregious but was decided by the jury which she was not awarded anyway. 

    Go on reporting about “frivolous lawsuits”

    1. So if someone walks into a glass door they get the right to sue the hell out of the place? I can understand the hot coffee one after having more information but sometimes lawsuits are really just stupid.

      1. I don’t think she deserves to win, but I don’t have any objection to a law that gives her the right to try… at least until a judge throws it out.

        1. I object to wasting time on frivolous lawsuits, when things that effect people and matter to society are waiting in the court hallway.

          1. Question: were safety decals properly installed on the glass in accordance with state and OSHA regulations?

            If no, Apple needs to pay. If yes, the lady is SOL.

          2. I have no problem with judges throwing out frivolous lawsuits, that’s part of the reason we have them there in the first place.

          3. And attitudes like yours are why consumer protections and ability to get a reasonable judgement for corporate negligence causing severe injury and death have been utterly raped in the past decade in a large number of US States.

            “Tort Reform” sounds good, but it’s really a massive PR campaign to strip Americans of their rights – and to get people to buy into that.

            Keep it up!

          4. Actual frivolous lawsuits get laughed off, or lose summary judgement motions. Unless, of course, they are brought by moneyed entities that use them to intimidate people with limited resources. Truly frivolous lawsuits never see the inside of a courtroom.

        2. Filing a suit and forcing you to pay to defend yourself, even if the case proves to be b.s., is a great way to economically harass someone who you know can’t afford to fight it.  Look at a number of trademark lawsuits against small businesses or individuals lately where it is pretty certain the company suing will lose but in the meantime they will go broke paying the legal fees to defend themselves.

    2. I was aware of the McDonalds case details, and what you say is largely true http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liebeck_v._McDonald's_Restaurants However, she also had the coffee between her knees, and her clothing kept the resulting spill in contact with her skin – this extended contact is what scalded her. Even with all of the details, I’m still on the obvious-man side of “hot coffee is hot”.

      In this case, we’re talking about someone walking into a closed door. If you’re unable to perceive a wall of glass in front of you (whether poor eyesight, distraction, etc), then I’m still leaning towards that being your issue, and not a “negligent” flaw in the design.

      1. The “hot coffee is hot” crowd doesn’t like complexity, but reality is complex.

        When you purchase something, you have certain expectations. One of those expectations, especially with a product as ubiquitous and well-known as coffee, is that the product will conform to a generally accepted idea of “coffee”. If it does not conform to that generally accepted idea, especially in a manner that may cause injury, the customer will be notified.

        The generally accepted idea of “coffee” is not a boiling liquid that is so hot that it will cause polyester fabrics to melt.

        1. When I purchase something I assume it is prepared in accordance with the law. McDonald’s had been warned several times that their coffee regularly exceeded safe temperatures, the plaintiff in that lawsuit was not the first to be horribly burned. That’s why they had to pay punitive damages (which ended up amounting to less than a day’s worth of coffee sales).

          1. The jury also attributed 20% of damages to be due to the plaintiff’s negligence, and adjusted the amount accordingly. The $2mm was for punitive (one day coffee sales), for a) knowing the coffee was so hot as to be undrinkable, and b) already having injured someone, refusing to lower the temperature.

        2. Polyester fabrics melt at around 265° C  (about 590° F). 
          That’s pretty hot for coffee. 
          The styrofoam cups melt at 240 °C. 

          Coffee is always made with boiling water, or hotter yet, steam. 

          1. Actually, coffee is not supposed to be made with boiling water. Water boils at 212 degrees when at sea level. According to the National Coffee Brewer Association, optimal coffee brewing is at 195 degrees to 205 degrees. This is supported by various other sources. Optimal serving temperature is in debate. The same trade organization, claims optimal serving temperature is between 180 to 185 degrees. MacDonald’s served it between 185 and 190 degrees. It’s own expert testified that temperature would be enough to give a person third degree burns in two to three seconds. Home brewed coffee is generally served at between 135 and 140 degrees.  Ironically, the US National Library of Medicine did research on the topic where the median temperature the most people enjoyed drinking coffee at is 140 degrees. 

      2. It’s not as simple as “hot coffee is hot.”  130 degrees F is hot.  180 degrees F is hot.  one of those two is safe to drink.  The other is the temperature at which McDonald’s served its coffee prior to that lawsuit.  (For reference, the boiling point of water is 212 degrees F.)  Care to guess which is which?

        1. Well technically 130F will cause  2nd degree burns in roughly 15 seconds.  I’d be surprised to see someone down a cup of coffee sitting at 130F, I’m sure you could drink it slowly by sipping on it, but not by chugging it.

          And yet Starbucks will make it “extra hot” if you ask.  (I assume for those who are consuming their coffee at some future time, or perhaps it alters the taste, don’t know don’t drink that much coffee.)

        2.  I remember the “Flaming Carrot” comic where he kept saying he liked his food piping hot, and when he finally got it he said, “Yow! Too hot!” That has nothing to do with this story but it reminded me of it and made me laugh.

        1. Also, she sued only for actual damages: the hospital bill for third-degree burns. She asked McDonalds to pay it, they refused, she sued. The jury awarded her actual damages, plus the punitive damages that made the headlines.

          1. Still, she was a poor sport. I know that if I got severely burned by a defective product in a country without socialized medicine and had to pay for treatment out of my own savings, I would do the right thing and quietly go bankrupt. /sarcasm

    3. Moderator note:  Stop already with the coffee thing.  Henceforth, I’m removing all references to it.  You have been warned.

      1. I understand the warning and won’t mention it, but could you explain why? Is there a rule that discussion violates?

          1. Ok. I just thought some people hadn’t gotten the word yet and could still use the debunking.

  3. That isn’t punitive damages, she was the worlds oldest nose model and that is the estimated loss of income for her remaining expected 3 years of life.

  4. There are 360+ Apple stores. They’ve been out there for years. Most of them have glass fronts. There are other buildings with glass doors. How many times has this come up in the past?

      1. Years ago my Mom walked into one of our sliding glass doors and she flew backwards and landed on her butt.  She sued the crap out of my Dad (metaphorically speaking) for laughing.

        1.  Even more embarrassing to walk into a closed screen door. Not that I speak from personal experience or anything.

          1.  Even more embarassing to walk in a closed, solid wooden door. We have one at work that has an rfid badge-reading lock. You can, at speed, flick your badge in range of the reader, disengage the lock,  and push through the door with minimal effort. Except when the badge reader fails, and you don’t have time to stop your momentum before walking into a closed door.

        2. George Carlin used to do a stand up act with the family Cat accidentally walking into the glass screen door. The Cat is like I meant to do that. Then he sneaks behind the couch, and is like, ” #$%$ing Meow, man, &*%&ing  Meow.” Funny stuff. 

  5. I feel for the poor woman. She now suffers from a horrible condition with dollar signs in her eyes.

    1. Right-o.  I’m gonna go to the mall, walk up right into the Apple Store window nose first, and profit!  Whereas she was first stupid and then shamelessly greedy, can I identify and copyright her “series of events” as my idea?

    2. I’m guessing it’s the lawyer who is seeing the dollar signs. She just got conned into going along with it. It was New York- there was probably one within 100 ft. just dying for a big lawsuit. Hell- they probably mobbed the poor old lady.

  6. Sounds like it’s straight out of Phil Hendrie http://www.philhendrieshow.com/classic-podcasts/

    1. Props for mentioning Phil Hendrie. I stopped listening to him during the Second Iraq Invasion (he went on very long, anti-Iraqi, non-funny rants), but his skits were my solace during many a dreary shift. 

  7. I feel sorry for her, but sorry, glass is everywhere, if it’s a danger to you you either take steps to mitigate the risks or you suck it up when you walk into a wall. On the other hand, since she lives in the states we all should be hoping she’s got good health insurance so she’s not bankrupted by medical bills. Even something as seemingly trivial as a broken nose gets really expensive really fast there.

    My prediction: Out of court settlement, Apple pays medical bills, for plastic surgery if she wants it, outfits her home with cool technology, puts her in an advert 5 years later.

          1. Maybe… I might have been reading too many comments like this one by people who actually mean them.

    1. There are actual state and OSHA regs for the use of safety decals on glass doors/windows.

      Did Apple fail to install them?

  8. Meh, Apple can just file a dozen patent lawsuits and pay off this lawsuit with those lawsuits. ‘S Jes Business.

      1. This quote from the (F) article would imply the store did not have any window decals prior to the incident:
        “As of Saturday warning strips had been posted on the glass at Apples Manhasset store.”

        Additionally, the photo on this article would also suggest their window decals were removed or altered for different promos. I don’t see any on the doors, do you?

        For the retail apologists: If Apple did not believe they are liable then why did they add warning strips to the door after the incident?

        1. ” If Apple did not believe they are liable then why did they add warning strips to the door after the incident?” Spoken like a ambulance-chaser apologist.

  9. WHAT ??!!  Was she too busy staring at her I-WHATEVER device to notice where she was walking ?  I am sorry but there is some liability on her part as well – PAY ATTENTION 

  10. Okay, so it sounds like a big figure, but set that aside for a moment, as a lot of the comments here and on that site seem to take issue with the suit existing at all, not just the amount of money. Is it really so unreasonable to require companies to follow regulations? Is it unreasonable to say “hey, some people in our society don’t have great eyesight, so let’s agree to take small reasonable steps (i.e. decals on glass walls and doors round about eye-level) to make things safe for them”? It may be funny if a young, able-bodied person walks into a glass door, but I don’t think it’s particularly funny or trivial if it happens to someone more frail. Decals seem like so much easier, cheaper and more humane a solution than expecting everyone with moderately poor eyesight to pick between staying home, waving a white cane in front of them everywhere, or risk suffering the occasional painful and humiliating injury. And if the law already requires decals (which it sounds like it does: http://www.labor.state.ny.us/workerprotection/safetyhealth/sh47.shtm ) then how else are you going to get companies to comply than for someone to sue them when they don’t?

    1. The photo on this TUAW article shows white “crash graphics” on the glass, but I can’t tell from the photo if they conform to the law, which requires two markings, at about 3 feet and 5 feet from the ground, with certain minimum dimensions. 

      1. Yes, the decals comply and are there . From that article : “The octogenarian is now suing Apple for US$75,000 for medical expenses plus $1 million in punitive damages for negligence.”

        Negligence? For what? Building a glass wall and putting “Hey-idiot-don’t walk-into-this”  graphics all over it? 

        Sorry. The old lady is feeble and should be in a home or with a guide- Not walking around the city being a Lawyer’s field day. Hey! Watch out for that manhole cover, it’s not clearly marked. Hey- that curb isn’t clearly marked, there’s no escalator on it. Hey- can we mark all the cars? They seem dangerous.

        1. The photo Robert Baruch posted http://ugc.ducati.kontain.com/photo/20111219/prod_05383de9-208f-4c27-a3d2-c70782621d6a/tb_1920x1080.jpg looks like there are markings at about 3 feet, but not at 5 feet.

          Based on the following assumptions
          – clockworksaint is correctly citing the applicable law
          – Robert Baruch posted a picture of the correct store
          – there isn’t something funny about that picture whereby the upper markings don’t show up

          Then the Apple store is probably in the wrong – there was a law outlining the (IMO reasonable sounding) steps they were to take to make their store safe, they didn’t take them, someone was injured (at least arguably) as a result of their failure to do so.  In that case, they probably deserve to lose any ensuing lawsuit – though, not necessarily for the full amount the plaintiff asks for.

          1. psst… that link you pasted has swallowed the following “)” – I tend to put spaces either side of links I paste inline to stop stuff like that happening.

          2. I fix ~30 of those every day. It started about four moths ago. I blame Toxoplasma gondii.

          3. You have to read further into the law, which has an exception for glass doors with vertical bars. They still have to be marked between 30 and 36 inches, but not between 60 and 66.

          4. @Robert Baruch I think that exception only applies when the door has *horizontal* divider, “muntin bar” or equivalent across the entire width of the door and with sufficient vertical dimension. Some of the equivalents only need to extend across two thirds of the width, but those vertical markers don’t look like they’d count. Regardless, I don’t know what markings were on the door at the time and whether they met the requirements. That’s for the court to decide. I merely want to make the point that lack of markings would be one reasonable reason to bring such a suit, and therefore without further information I would not automatically discount the suit as frivolous or ridiculous.

  11. I was watching a movie on the new iPad, and the Retina Display was so realistic I tried to dive into the action, slammed it repeatedly against my face, and broke my nose. I want to sue Apple!

  12. This is ridiculous. Countless other stores and buildings around the world have had glass doors for years – decades even! The only way this would have any merit at all is if Apple, for some inexplicable reason, designed their doors to be completely different from everyone else’s – with an entirely different spec for transparency that nobody could duplicate without getting sued, and a unique ‘Apple-only’ shape and… and…

    Aw hell.

  13. Poor old woman probably thought the Apple Store was a place to buy fresh fruit. She went looking for a bag of red delicious and ended-up with a busted nose.

    1. Red delicious if you are a vampire… which ironically she was watching twilight.. and at the sight of blood, the vampire promptly broke his nose trying to get to her blood..

  14. Had a similar incident in 1983. Was leaving a Rutgers University building between classes when it was quite crowded. Saw there were 4 doors and everyone was only using the middle two, so I sped through one of the end ones, propped open.

    Only the end ones weren’t doors, they were glass windows in exactly the same shape and size as the two doors. I momentarily blacked out upon collision and woke up a second or two later on the floor. With hundreds of witnesses walking past me…

    1. As you should. Welcome to America, now get out from under my feet–I’m walking here where you’re lying down!!

    2.  I saw a guy do that in the lobby of a building at another university a few years ago, where there were large glass windows and glass doors. He just totally misjudged which of the large glass panels was a door and which was a window. I was on the other side of the lobby when I saw him collide with the window and fall — I ran over to him saying “Oh my God, are you okay?” He was fine, just embarrassed.

      I’m fairly certain he didn’t sue the university, though.

      1. Well, in the university environment it’s considered a “learning experience,” so technically the university should have charged me.

    3. Since it was 1983, I’m guessing someone looked you right in your barely conscious eyes and said “FACE!”

    4. There are a lot of buildings where they try to make the doors blend into the building for aesthetic reasons.  My favorite are where they put horizontal bars on the adjacent sections and completely conceal the hinges.  Trial and error is the only way in.

  15. The 75K figure is in order to make the suit eligible for diversity jurisdiction.
    And the Apple Store in question did have lines on the glass plates, a series of white blocks spaced.

  16. So as a business owner YOUR cataracts are MY problem? I don’t think so. What next? Legislate for stupid people? We already do that enough.  Sorry old lady, get a guide dog or a friend next time you leave the home. If you are too feeble not to walk into a giant pane of glass, you are too feeble to be out on your own. I’m not hating on the old woman… I feel sorry for her, my grandma did the same thing to our sliding glass door- the real villian here is the attorney, not Apple for “using glass”. Pfftt…

    1. You obviously do not own a business that is open to the public.

      A word to the wise – get a good lawyer and insurance agent if you ever decide to open up shop. They will help you avoid losing your business when someone slips on the sidewalk out front.

      1. Yeah, durp of course I use lawyers and insurance you have to. Still, it doesn’t make it right that everyone with a bum leg or eye can shamble into the world suing everything that isn’t covered in padding. People like you enable this crap to happen with your attitude. How about standing up to this nonsense, and expressing some concern for the insanity?  There’s plenty of good in OSHA code, but there is also some frivolousness.  

    1. Thats what wer’e doing here. Are you suggesting we re-design the entire Earth to be “Elderly Proof?”

      Ps.  It’s the button next to your “A” key.

      1.  “Ps.  It’s the button next to your “A” key.”

        Next to your sarcasm detector key?

  17. Only two questions need to be answered… 

    1) Was the building entrance up to local building codes?
    2) Was a building inspection performed (signed off) when the store was built?

    If the answer to these two questions are both yes then shouldn’t the state/city where the store is located be sued instead? 

    If you’re following all the regulations/building by-laws then you shouldn’t be liable.

    1. If the answer to these two questions are both yes then shouldn’t the state/city where the store is located be sued instead?

      You can’t sue City Hall. Literally. It’s quite common to have laws holding planning and building departments harmless even if they make terrible errors.

    1.  Lawyer fees drive up the price.
      If our government forced lawyers to give up the right to practice for losing frivolous suits, then there would not be so many made.

      1. I always loved the Frank Herbert book (The Dosadi Experiment IIRC) where lawyers in the Gowachin court go into court with the very real possibility they could make their life forfeit in the process. Seems only natural when you potentially have someone else’s life in your hands. Would certainly get a lot of lawyers’ attention. But then again, I love the idea of giant sand worms roaming the desert. 

    2. Fell asleep during high school biology, eh?

      I don’t blame you. Mr. McDillon was pretty boring.

  18. Glass doors were invented by Apple.  She never had to deal with this until those stores were built.

  19. a MILLION bucks?!?!! That must be one heck of a nose! How could it possibly be worth that much? It’s 83 years old! I wouldn’t give a million bucks for the Queen of Sheba’s nose.

  20. I’m guessing it was her attorney’s idea to ask for a cool Mil, rather than hers. As for possible liability, it varies a great deal from state to state. My mother was shopping outside D.C. in Virginia during the holiday season a few years ago, carrying an armful of packages. In front of a big box retailer, a square of concrete sidewalk had been repaired/replaced, but the new crete was almost 2 inches higher than the surrounding pad. She didn’t see it, fell flat on her face. Cracked 3 vertebrae in her neck, chipped her inherited 2 carat diamond ring. Had no recourse at all, still suffers pain today.

    1. If you link to the image, rather than adding it via the Disqus button, it should work.

  21. Having spent several years (for my sins) working at a shopping center with an Apple store, I can testify that the Apple store there had small frosted patches on their glass windows and doors.  Emphasis on “small”; the patches were pretty much invisible unless you were looking for them.   Because, y’know, if they were visible it would spoil the whole effect of having a solid glass storefront.

    Personally, I find the design of Apple stores actively repellent, turning the “glass-and-steel-box” school of architecture up to 11.  They have all the charm and appeal of a razor-edged ice cube.  So my standard reaction is to walk away from them.

  22. This all comes down to personal accountability. I see and read every day of people who slide through the world as if it will bend around them. Never looking merging into other lanes without looking, dropping random items on the wrong shelf instead of walking two feet to put them back, and a myriad of other examples that are too numerous to count. The biggest thing is this. Glass doors no matter how well made have tracks or hardware of some sort and more than likely the doors in question are automatic. I think this is approaching busy idiot/confused old person territory. I saw this once when I worked retail we had a vestibule that you would come in the front and turn left or right we took down the cool banners for a clean look people started running into them with carts and within a week one night WHAM an old man clocked himself on the windows that were four separate panels divide with 2″ wide aluminum strips. So he couldn’t have missed them he just didn’t wait the half a second to make sure the “door” opened. What is worse and may have even happened here is the doors were sensitive enough that the real doors opened before you could have run into the windows.

  23. The footage will undoubtedly be available from the instore CCTV, Apple should strike a deal with her to capitalise on it. “You’ve Been Framed!” still give 250 nicker for hilarious/serious accidents, maybe more for actual nose breakages. Generally I hate the suing culture that exists today, but if the vastest, richest giant in the land broke my face with an invisible force field I’d be keen for them to make it up to me.

  24. Once I was walking and looking at a really cute golden retriever and I went face first into a glass door. I didn’t break anything. But I SUED THAT GOLDEN RETRIEVER FOR ALL HE WAS WORTH. 

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