Eighty-three-year-old Queens resident Evelyn Paswall, a former Manhattan fur-company VP, clearly wasn't familiar with the sleek design of glass-walled Apple retail stores when she went to visit one in Manhasset, Long Island last December to return an iPhone. In the course of walking into the store's glass front door, Paswall broke her nose, and is now suing Apple for $75,000 in medical expenses, as well as an additional $1 million for negligence, or lack of elderly-proofing.

In our overly-litigious society, where too-hot coffee can lead to a court date, a case like this wouldn't seem to point towards a favorable judgment, and white markings designed to prevent such accidents were apparently on the glass. But Paswall's attorney, Derek T. Smith, 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."

I feel for Mrs. Paswall's misfortune, but clean, hip architectural designs will not be curtailed due to people banging into see-through facades. (Or thinking Frank Gehry is the Antichrist for that matter.) Sure, Apple could take time out from building their solid-gold statue of Steve Jobs, and dig a million dollars out from under the sofa cushions at HQ and just give it to Paswall, but that would be ignoring the principle, wouldn't it? Maybe Mrs. Paswall should just stick with online shopping. 

Commentarium (20 Comments)

Mar 26 12 - 5:28pm

People in the USA think this kind of thing is cute because they aren’t smart enough to realize that frivolous and unfounded litigations are paid for by higher prices. If Apple pays, the cost will just be added to the price of their products. Do you like higher prices? Then you should support idiots that spill hot coffee in their laps or bump into glass doors.

Mar 26 12 - 9:01pm
eopndi fallacy.

Home of the brave? or home of the frivolous lawsuit? It's a close run thing.

Mar 27 12 - 9:20pm

Oh please, Apple's margins are not tight enough that a regular consumer would feel the effect of this lawsuit.

Mar 27 12 - 9:52pm

Um, no one's forcing anyone to buy Apple products...if they want to make their products more expensive, it's only making those who want them think a little harder over their decision.

Mar 28 12 - 2:24pm
Consumer Affected

When I was employed in destructive and non-destructive testing of products for defects litigations, we estimated that many products were priced 6% higher to cover frivolous and unfounded litigations. Bear in mind: that’s not for valid lawsuits, that’s just to pay for the ones that are faked/invalid. So, if fake lawsuits could be removed from the equation, your $30,000 car would have been priced at $28,200. Here’s a better analogy, how would it feel to get a 6% raise in salary? It does matter.

Mar 28 12 - 3:03pm
the consumer loses

Like virtually every company in the USA that offers a product or service, we are routinely the subject of scam-lawsuits. We try to estimate how much it will cost to defend ourselves against how much it will cost to make it go away. Regardless of our innocence, the deciding factor in pursuing a resolution is always whichever pile of money is smaller. The Plaintiff’s Lawyers know this is how it works, so they cleverly price their claims for damages (extortion!) just below the threshold for an easy payday. BTW, the public never hears about these suits because of non-disclosure agreements. The pay-offs are part of doing business in this country, and we do factor that cost into the prices that the consumer pays.

Mar 26 12 - 5:35pm

Get real, we're worried about windmills killing birds.

Glass panel architecture regularly has stickers of predator birds placed on them to stop real ones from flying into the glass.

And we can't put the same type of indicator on a door for humans.

Yes sometimes it is difficult to see that there is a glass door in the opening.

How hard would it be to stick an Apple logo at eye level?

Mar 26 12 - 5:42pm

meh asks: How hard would it be to stick an Apple logo at eye level?
The article says: "...and white markings designed to prevent such accidents were apparently on the glass."

Mar 26 12 - 10:04pm

looking at the photo there are markings on the windows, no markings on the door.

Mar 26 12 - 11:26pm
Bruce lee

No, just a pair of door handals. No way to see the door there.

Mar 26 12 - 8:31pm

Okay, First I'm suprised an 83 year old can operate a iphone. Second, was she actually looking where she was going? And third, how in the hell can you run into a glass door, there's these magical things called handles and they are placed on the door so you don't try to open them with your face. Its called common sense and looking for the handles weather they be horizontal or vertical handles.

Mar 26 12 - 8:48pm

I think I am going to sue Evelyn Paswall for wasting forty-five seconds of my life. Several stores feature glass doors, has she walked into them all? Perhaps, at 83, she should be paying someone to accompany on these dangerous outings she's planned for herself or do us all a favour and stay home, playing cards.

Mar 26 12 - 10:58pm

I don't know about this case, but the constant mentions of Stella Liebeck and the McDonald's coffee case demonstrate the short attention span and ignorance of those who repeat them. That poor lady had horrible injuries through no fault of her own (did you know she was a passenger in a stationary car? That McDonald's repeatedly admitted its fault in the case?) and who sued McDonald's after they offered to pay $600 of her $20,000 medical bills? Keep swallowing corporate America's lies and half-truths, suckers. Maybe the jerks who are making fun of this lady will live to be old and vulnerable themselves. But based on their responses, I think Darwin is going to catch up with them before they make it that far.

Mar 27 12 - 1:00am

Yes. The coffee temperature that was company mandated was also boiling hot. This woman suffered burns that would make anyone cringe. Her life was made much shorter as a result of McDonalds. I too wish people would take some time and learn about a topic before choosing a side. Especially this one.

Mar 27 12 - 5:01am
unsexy ferret

Agreed. People like to make fun of the McDonalds coffee case, but they rarely know the basic facts. The punitive award ($2.7 mil) that the media went crazy about was overturned by the judge and never enforced. The jurors awarded such a high amount based on the fact that McDs refused to settle the case--so if anyone is responsible for passing on the high costs of litigation, it's the corporations that keep harems of extremely highly paid inhouse counsel who think they can win cases by wearing the smaller party down by outspending them and forcing them to give up.

Mar 27 12 - 2:05pm
Get Real People!

In order to make coffee the water has to BOIL. Get it? You have to BOIL the water. So when you buy a cup of coffee, the water is near BOILING temperature. No, it wasn't boiling in her cup - but fresh coffee is near BOILING. I don't feel sorry for anybody that ignores reality and then blames everyone else for their stupidity.

Mar 27 12 - 5:07pm
You're an idiot

Actually boiling water makes bad coffee - and also results in 3rd degree burns like the lady received on her legs. Burns much worse than if the coffee had been the normal brewing/serving temperature.

I love trolls/idiots like you.

Mar 27 12 - 7:39pm
No, you're an idiot.

The aromatic oils in coffee are released at 96C (205F), which is just below boiling. Whether you like it or not, most commercial coffee makers boil the water. So the point he's trying to make is valid. Everyone knows that hot coffee is actually hot, and anyone that is stupid enough to believe otherwise is... stupid. Oh, and we love trolls like you, too.

Mar 27 12 - 10:03pm
Not really...

Actually, regardless of the water temperature needed to MAKE the coffee, McDonald's mandated that their coffee containers keep the coffee at a standing temperature of 180-200 F...

Telling someone that their coffee is "hot" is not a sufficient way to let someone know that the coffee they're holding in a thin plastic-coated paper cup can cause 3rd degree burns if in contact with the skin for more than a few seconds. If the coffee they're selling is that SCALDING hot, they should let people know and if they had hundreds of documented cases of people burning themselves with hot coffee, as McDonald's did, they should consider lowering the standing temperature of the coffee that they're handing to people to reduce the risk of that happening.

Mar 28 12 - 2:04pm
Yes, really...

By that logic, and the fact that stupid people will always find a way to ignore the “obvious”, McDonalds should just stop making coffee. Then they should stop making burgers because someone will take a bite too big and choke themselves. Oh, and they should stop selling carbonated drinks because someone will forget how to swallow and get the fizz up their nose. And lets not forget French fries – someone might poke themselves in the eye! The worst part is, someone will blame McDonalds because it’s ALWAYS the corporations fault.