Lawsuit: Google responsible for leading Los Angeles pedestrian onto Deer Valley Drive
June 1, 2010
A woman from Los Angeles has filed a federal lawsuit against Google, claiming that she was injured in a traffic accident after the Internet search engine’s mapping program led her into a dangerous situation while she was in Park City in 2009.
Lauren Rosenberg claims damages of more than $100,000 in the lawsuit. It also names as a defendant Patrick Harwood, who the lawsuit says is the Salt Lake County driver that hit her.
According to the lawsuit, Rosenberg on Jan. 19, 2009 went to the Google Maps site using her BlackBerry device for walking directions between 96 Daly Ave. and 1710 Prospector Ave. Google Maps gave directions that led her onto Deer Valley Drive, a section of S.R. 224, the lawsuit says.
There are no sidewalks on Deer Valley Drive, and the lawsuit claims drivers travel "at high speeds" and the road "is not reasonably safe for pedestrians."
Rosenberg "was so led onto Deer Valley Road/State Route 224 and was thereby stricken and severely injured . . . ," according to the lawsuit, which claims Google was "careless, reckless, and negligent" in providing the directions.
Google, the lawsuit says, "knew or should have known" Deer Valley Drive has vehicles traveling at a high rate of speed and does not have sidewalks. It says the route is a "dangerous path" between Daly Avenue and Prospector Avenue.
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Harwood was driving southbound, the direction toward Old Town, when he hit Rosenberg, the lawsuit says. It claims Harwood did not pay attention to the road, did not control the vehicle and was driving at an unreasonable speed.
The lawsuit does not detail the woman’s injuries. It seeks damages, interest on some of the damages, reimbursement for medical expenses and lost earnings, among other damages.
The case will likely be closely watched in Park City, a tech-savvy place that is vying to be selected as one of the spots for Google’s upcoming high-speed fiber-optic network. It is also a place where pedestrian and bicyclist safety is an overriding concern.
The accident occurred during the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, a time when Park City is at its busiest. The lawsuit does not indicate whether Rosenberg was in the city for the festival.
During Sundance, festival organizers and City Hall officials recommend people take buses or walk between the various Sundance locales, suggesting that doing so sometimes is faster than driving a personal vehicle since Park City traffic is typically at its worst during the festival.
The organizers publish a map showing pedestrian routes and City Hall puts extra effort into snowplowing the routes. The 2009 film guide put out by Sundance shows a walking path along Deer Valley Drive, a reference to the trail that follows the route of Deer Valley Drive just off the west side of the road.
The trail is sunken from the road, however, and Rosenberg was apparently walking on a stretch of Deer Valley Drive just above the trail.
A Google Maps search of the same route conducted on Monday resulted in three maps, with two being similar to the one Rosenberg describes in the lawsuit.
One set of directions on Monday instructed a pedestrian to use Daly Avenue, Main Street, Deer Valley Drive, Bonanza Drive and Prospector Avenue. Those directions also included a warning saying "use caution — This route may be missing sidewalks or pedestrian paths."
The Monday search indicated two of the routes would take a pedestrian 33 minutes and the other would be one minute longer.
Rosenberg’s Provo attorney did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment. A Google spokesperson did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.