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Girl Claims Price Scanner Gave Her Tourette's Syndrome 558

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-$4.99-you-f*#@ing-co^&%#@!er dept.
Attorneys for Dominica Juliano claim that she was burned and developed psychological problems after a store clerk aimed a hand-held price scanner at her face. Store attorneys say their scanners uses a harmless LED light and that the girl had serious health problems before she was scanned. From the article: "Dominica Juliano was 12 when she and her grandmother entered the Country Fair store in Erie in June 2004. A clerk allegedly called the girl 'grumpy' before flashing his hand-held bar code scanner over her face and telling her to smile. Attorneys for Ms. Juliano and her guardian say the girl was sensitive to light and burned, and later developed post-traumatic stress and Tourette's syndrome."

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Girl Claims Price Scanner Gave Her Tourette's Syndrome

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  • Grumpy (Score:3, Funny)

    by Dark_Matter88 (1150591) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @07:59PM (#31851810) Homepage
    "You're grumpy" *beep* OOOh...Sick burn!
    • Re:Grumpy (Score:5, Funny)

      by Fluffeh (1273756) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @08:03PM (#31851858)

      "You're grumpy" *beep* OOOh...Sick burn!

      I am not *motherfucker*! *Cockbag*! Shit!

      Oh my goodness, I don't ever recall speaking like that before. Must have been the scanner!

      • Re:Grumpy (Score:4, Funny)

        by aztracker1 (702135) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @08:31PM (#31852124) Homepage
        I always knew something was up with the Self Checkout... no wonder I get all angry and stuff... "Please place the item in the bag".. ."Please remove the item from the bag"... it's all the scanner's fault.
      • Re:Grumpy (Score:5, Informative)

        by Mooga (789849) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @09:48PM (#31852810)
        Swearing is not Tourette's Syndrome, but rather coprolalia. As someone who has grown up with Tourette's, this misconception continues to make young people's life hell. As for a price scanner causing TS... it sounds like total bs to me.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by mjwx (966435)

          Swearing is not Tourette's Syndrome, but rather coprolalia.

          I had to look that one up. It's a bit ambiguously worded. Uncontrollable swearing is not Tourette's Syndrome, it is uncontrollable tics (sudden, repetitive and non rythmic muscle movement or vocalisation). Coprolalia is the condition of uncontrollable profanity.

          This is interesting as I occasional get a "tic", sudden movement in my nose or eyebrow. I don't think it's Tourettes, in fact it's hardly noticeable anyone but me.

        • Re:Grumpy (Score:5, Informative)

          by sg_oneill (159032) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @02:42AM (#31854592)

          I hear ya man. My bro has Tourettes and has perfectly controlled speech, other than the occasional muted yelp. Tourettes is in some sense like an ultra nasty version of obessive compulsive, except with less hand washing, and more twitching.

          Living with it certainly requires one to develop bit of a sense of humor about it (and knowing when someone deserves a good punch in the mouth) . Its not a fun disorder, and yeah, nothing we know about its genetics (Gilles De Tourette gene complex on I *think* chromasone 18 (I think!)) , some tell tale signs in cerebral blood flow and EEG scans , and so on.

          The notion you can develop in neurotically from PTS is complete bullshit.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by 3.1415926535 (243140)

            The town I grew up in had an ice cream shop run by a guy with Tourette's. He never swore, he'd just shout, "Hey!" sometimes. What I found fascinating, though, was that it would never happen while he was playing the trumpet. Somehow, concentrating on that kept the symptoms in check. Needless to say, he was a fantastic trumpet player because he practiced all the time. :)

            I wonder how he's doing now.

        • Re:Grumpy (Score:4, Insightful)

          by pushing-robot (1037830) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @03:31AM (#31854844)

          coprolalia

          Ah, Latin. While we geeks think we're clever with "PEBKAC" and "ID-10-T error", doctors have been using Latin to the same effect for centuries. As have lawyers and clergy.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by popeye44 (929152)

      Shrugs shoulders, Nods head, snaps fingers. claims he got it from a bathroom motion detection unit.

    • Re:Grumpy (Score:5, Funny)

      by steeviant (677315) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @09:03PM (#31852414)

      Cue the sound of CIA shredders destroying all evidence of project MKWALMART.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by FatdogHaiku (978357)

      "You're grumpy" *beep* OOOh...Sick burn!

      "You're grumpy" *beep*, and NOW 50% off due to the smoldering tissue!

  • Fire that Judge (Score:4, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @07:59PM (#31851812)

    The Judge that let this go to trial should be out of a job. Why waste the time of a jury and tax-dollars on such ridiculous claims?

    • Re:Fire that Judge (Score:5, Informative)

      by drachenstern (160456) <drachenstern@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @08:01PM (#31851830) Journal

      "Why"? To have prior case study so that we can debunk future ones by showing frivolity. About the only good reason I can think up.

      Then again, this audience probably knows more about the inner workings of such a device than the general public, so we're quick to dismiss obvious BS claims whereas another peer group might not understand what's going on here.

      • Re:Fire that Judge (Score:4, Insightful)

        by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @08:21PM (#31852018) Journal

        Disclaimer: I also believe it's a bullshit cause

        But what if not? Just because it hasn't caused problems before? Would it be fair justice to ignore this persons claims and later find out they were true? Then we would have a slashdot story where everyone would say that the judge was biased and asshole because he didn't accept the case.

        One should only be banned from making court cases directly by himself/herself if he continually abuses court (like the anti-violent game lawyer). Otherwise he/she should be heard and try to show the proof - not just directly ignore it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by h4rr4r (612664)

          Simple science check would be fine.
          You can only get burns with enough energy exposure, the Price Scanner does not supply that.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Demonantis (1340557)
            I'm not sure it works that way. The wave length is a very specific determining factor for how much absorption occurs. What strikes me as odd is why the store lights are not burning her if the scanner does. They spit out pretty much all kinds of light. What would be needed is rigorous scientific experimentation to determine if the scanner is dangerous not a court system, but hey thats the breaks.
            • Re:Fire that Judge (Score:5, Insightful)

              by ehrichweiss (706417) * on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @09:00PM (#31852380)
              I don't think you read GP's post well enough. The wavelength/absorption aren't going to matter if there isn't enough *energy* to cause a problem in the first place, regardless of wavelength. In other words, say it requires 30 milliwatts of power at 800nm and your scanner only supplies 1 milliwatt for its entire spectrum; there will not be enough energy to do any harm.
          • Re:Fire that Judge (Score:4, Insightful)

            by digitalunity (19107) <digitalunity@yah ... minus herbivore> on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @10:03PM (#31852928) Homepage

            Visible light at even extreme levels isn't likely to cause burns any time soon. It's UVA, UVB and infrared that burn.

            The fact that fluorescent lights spit out more across the spectrum than a red LED(which fyi is monochromatic) kind of tells me this girl is just making shit up.

            I'm not saying people don't deserve their day in court. I am saying though that judges should have free reign to use common sense when dismissing cases for lack of a scientific basis of any kind.

        • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

          by Runaway1956 (1322357)

          Mmmm. Pretty good point. But, the wench cheapens the suffering of everyone who really has experienced the problems she claims. Someone needs to bitch slap her and her guardian, then hear their evidence, then bitch slap them again.

    • The Judge that let this go to trial should be out of a job. Why waste the time of a jury and tax-dollars on such ridiculous claims?

      Because judges aren't generally empowered to prevent a case from going to trial because they don't believe the facts alleged. A judge can prevent a case from going to trial because the facts alleged, if viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, don't support a legal cause of action.

      • by Omnifarious (11933) * <eric-slash@omnif ... g minus math_god> on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @08:10PM (#31851936) Homepage Journal

        Because judges aren't generally empowered to prevent a case from going to trial because they don't believe the facts alleged. A judge can prevent a case from going to trial because the facts alleged, if viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, don't support a legal cause of action.

        And, of course, the light here is definitely not favorable to the plaintiff.

      • by Narpak (961733)

        Because judges aren't generally empowered to prevent a case from going to trial because they don't believe the facts alleged. A judge can prevent a case from going to trial because the facts alleged, if viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, don't support a legal cause of action.

        I shall refrain from passing judgement upon this case or the alleged victim until the girl has been satisfactory examined by a neutral party with the knowledge (and possibly lab) required to study this case properly. This may or may not be a false claim; but it is easy to jump to conclusions. I believe that dismissing a case simply by gut instinct is to risk perpetrating a great crime against the potential victim.

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          You think a a 1mw light bulb could burn someone?
          You think this girl's home has no lights in it?

        • by SpeedyDX (1014595)

          Parent and GP are exactly right. Tourette's may be a bit of a stretch, but I'm going to assume that a good majority of us are not qualified to make the judgment of whether or not the girl's light sensitivity is serious enough that holding a particular light source near her face will cause any pain and/or injury. Perhaps only a certain range of EMR wavelengths would trigger a reaction? There are a number of possibilities. I'm not a doctor. Most of the rest of /. are not doctors. The judge is not a doctor.

          The

      • by Obfuscant (592200)
        A judge can prevent a case from going to trial because the facts alleged, if viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, don't support a legal cause of action.

        "I allege that my daughter was burned by the application of a 1mW laser to her face for five seconds."

        "Yes, your honor, we do have light bulbs in our house. Yes, we have some 100W light bulbs. Yes, we do allow our daughter to go outside in the sunshine. What's that? Case dismissed?"

        The "facts alleged", in the most favorable light, show th

      • by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @08:28PM (#31852092)

        Forget that, the simple matter that this is not possible should prevent it. It would be like me suing you for my migraines because I believe your invisible unicorn witch put a hex on me.

    • by cupantae (1304123) <maroneill&gmail,com> on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @08:06PM (#31851896)

      It's even more annoying, considering a judge threw out my case against my city's bus service. I was splashed in the face by a puddle in the bus station, where I was picking up some hookers. Next day: BAM. Herpes.

      • It's even more annoying, considering a judge threw out my case against my city's bus service. I was splashed in the face by a puddle in the bus station, where I was picking up some hookers. Next day: BAM. Herpes.

        Didnt it give you tourette's too? I mean, after being splashed in the face, I bet you yelled all kind of things. You should fire your lawyer and get a new one.

      • You were picking up hookers in a puddle? No wonder you caught some germs. Have you ever taken a look at that water under a microscope?
    • Re:Fire that Judge (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mysidia (191772) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @08:18PM (#31851996)

      The Judge his doing his job as set out by the laws. It is not generally within a Judge's responsibilities to simply block or prevent a case going to trial just because some people might feel it is a waste of time in their opinion.

      "I think the claims are ridiculous" is not a valid legal reason for denying the person of their right to seek justice under the law.

      Basically, this Judge is doing his job properly, and any judge which would deny a case going to trial, simply because someone thinks its ridiculous, is not properly executing the role of a Judge...

      The Judge's responsibility is to analyze the claims put forward, and the show of evidence, based on the law, not based on some political opinion of the "proper cases" to come before the courts.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by h4rr4r (612664)

        What about these claims are not possible?
        If I claim your pet invisible purple unicorn witch put a hex on me and that gave me genital warts, should I be allowed to sue you for damages?

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Jarik C-Bol (894741)
          you know, IANAL, but I think you should try it, and let us know how that one goes. For science and whatnot.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Myopic (18616)

        "I think the claims are ridiculous" is not a valid legal reason for denying the person of their right to seek justice under the law.

        Is this true? I actually thought that was exactly what a judge could do. (I am not a lawyer, so I don't know, and this is an honest question.)

    • Re:Fire that Judge (Score:5, Informative)

      by GasparGMSwordsman (753396) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @08:21PM (#31852024)

      So you suggest that a judge should throw out cases BEFORE hearing any evidence or examining the facts of the case. I question if you really understand the implications of that action. I also question your understanding of the law or history.

      The judge did in fact throw out the case, AFTER the facts were examined.

      http://www.goerie.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100414/NEWS02/304149909 [goerie.com]

    • Re:Fire that Judge (Score:4, Interesting)

      by JWSmythe (446288) <<moc.ehtymswj> <ta> <ehtymswj>> on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @10:28PM (#31853128) Homepage Journal

          It's the job of the courts to hear arguments and settle them. They're suing. There could be merit. Ok, there isn't, but we actually understand the power put off by these scanners. Experts will testify, and the girl will lose.

          It's the lawyers we need to do something about. Lawyers are taking on frivolous cases, regardless how little merit there is, hoping that there is an out of court settlement. It's cheaper for most companies to just settle, rather than be dragged through court. Unfortunately, this is the nation of litigation, and anyone can sue anyone for anything at any time. It's a huge industry. Every day on the radio, I hear ads for traffic attorneys. If you're in an accident, they want you to sue regardless of which side you were on. You can crash your car into someone else, and I'd bet a lawyer would be more than happy to sue the victim because they were in the way.

          I was in an accident once where something like this happened. A guy was on his bicycle waiting for me to pull out into traffic. He sat there for about 10 minutes. When there was finally a break in traffic for me to pull into, he rode in front of me. He wasn't hurt, and his bike was fine. The cops even ticketed him for being dumb. Ok, the ticket didn't read that, but that's basically what it was. He wanted me to pay for his bent kickstand. Ok, $20, big deal, right? Nope, $200. I asked for a receipt, and he wouldn't produce it. I told him to talk to my insurance company. I had a nice talk with them later. The price had increased to $300. They told me he's pretty well known in the area for doing stunts like that. It was cheaper for them to pay the $300, rather than have their lawyers go to court and argue it through a trial. He did dent the hood of my car, and I didn't even ask for that to be paid. It was a shitty car, I didn't care. It was something to complain about though. Since that happened, I pay extra attention for people like that. I've had several walk in front of me to get hit. It's not accidental either. They'll step out, I'll come to a quick stop, and they'll look at me like "Why didn't you hit me?", and then try the next lane of traffic. I don't know, I'd never see money as a good enough reason to get hit by a few thousand pounds of vehicle.

  • I'll Bet (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mikkeles (698461) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @08:01PM (#31851824)

    'Attorneys for Ms. Juliano and her guardian say the girl was sensitive to light and burned, and later developed post-traumatic stress and Tourette's syndrome.'

    To fix that: "Ms. Juliano and her guardian say the girl deserves a Million Billion Gazillion dolars (and that she [Ms. Juliano] should be trustee)."

  • by DnemoniX (31461) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @08:01PM (#31851832)

    Easy to figure out, shoot her again and again to see if it still burns. Oh and never mind that Tourettes is an inherited neuropsychiatric disorder. Don't let a little thing like that stop you from filing a lawsuit though.

  • Litigation Land (Score:5, Insightful)

    by muphin (842524) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @08:02PM (#31851848) Homepage
    Welcome to the land of the "owe, i hurt myself, lets blame who's near my so i don't look like an idiot"
    this is obviously a grab for cash, when genetic disorders like this cannot instantly be created from a flash of light, if she had a pre existing condition, light sensitivity, then i doubt she's gonna get that cash she so hope she would, poor girl is probably stuck in the middle of the greed from her parents.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DaveV1.0 (203135)

      It is not that. It is "Hey, he did something with technology I don't understand. I bet if I lie and say it hurt me, they will pay me big bucks to shut up and go away. Cha-CHING!"

      It is much more malicious and she and her family are shit.

    • She might actually be sincere. People sincerely believe strange things. Among the strange things I've found:

      * Mirrors attract lightning. To solve this problem, cover your mirror with a blanket during a thunder storm (never mind that a mirror inside the house is already covered) (from Latin America)
      * Don't use the iron during a thunderstorm or you could go blind (met an old woman who literally had this problem and was later healed by a preacher. That was her story, of course. Also Latin America)
      * People
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @08:38PM (#31852186)

        And don't forgot the old-school favorite, where a cosmic Jewish zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.

        If someone would believe that, why wouldn't they believe that a 1-milliwatt laser could burn them?

  • by tlambert (566799) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @08:05PM (#31851882)

    Who else wants to show up with a laser pointer?

    I'm betting we can chase her away from entering the court house...

    -- Terry

  • Maggie (Score:5, Funny)

    by MrEricSir (398214) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @08:05PM (#31851884) Homepage

    Maggie Simpson is going to have a terrible case of Tourette's after being scanned every week for the past ~20 years.

  • LED + WiFI (Score:5, Funny)

    by thesaurus (1220706) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @08:05PM (#31851886)
    The article doesn't explain that it was the combination of LEDs and WiFi that causes this psychological problem. That or vaccines plus violent video games.
  • ... the cashier's behaviour was inappropriate. That's not how to treat a costumer.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by TomXP411 (860000)
      How SHOULD the checker treat someone who creates costumes?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by PPH (736903)
      No soup for you!
    • by Idarubicin (579475) <allsquiet@hotm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @10:04PM (#31852936) Journal

      ... the cashier's behaviour was inappropriate. That's not how to treat a costumer.

      Yeah, but if I were to file a lawsuit every time a minimum-wage slave in a crappy job wasn't as chipper and cheery (or, even worse, showed a hint of a sense of humor) -- particularly if I was going to moan about events that took place over the last six years -- I'd never have time to do anything else with my life.

      I'm assuming that the cashier in question is already finished high school, is out of college, and is busy doing something productive with his life. It's a bit late to be giving the old Customer Service 101 lessons now.

  • ... are giving me Tourette's Syndrom. Can I sue?
  • Wonderous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spatial (1235392) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @08:36PM (#31852166)
    Burned by an LED?

    What happens if she's exposed to direct sunlight? Presumably it causes her to burst into flame, being tens of thousands of times more energetic.
    • by ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @08:50PM (#31852294)
      And now we know the secret of how vampires never seem to want for money. It's not prudent investments carried out over an endless unlife combined with their ability to derive nourishment from the blood of unwilling victims rather than paying for food and drink. Nowadays they just get a store clerk to burn them with an ultra low power LED scanner, curse a bit, then sue for enough money to support themselves indefinitely.
  • by glwtta (532858) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @08:41PM (#31852218) Homepage
    She's lucky: if, instead of an LED she was exposed to a microwave and non-dairy creamer, she could've been turned into a mouse!
  • Sensitive to light (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wisnoskij (1206448) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @08:52PM (#31852304) Homepage

    I do not care how sensitive to light you are, if you can survive outside and in a normally lighted room you will have no trouble with a price scanner.

  • It's true! (Score:3, Funny)

    by roc97007 (608802) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @09:10PM (#31852478) Journal

    Paying taxes gave me Tourette's Syndrome. While I'm writing the check I curse uncontrollably. I wonder if I should sue.

  • Tourettes is genetic (Score:5, Informative)

    by SlightOverdose (689181) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @09:54PM (#31852846)

    Speaking as someone with a mild case of Tourettes, you can't just "Get" it. You're either born with it or not.

    However, many people with the faulty genes go through there entire life without noticing the symptoms until they experience a particularly stressful moment- at which point something "breaks" and it becomes a lot more severe.

    I cannot possibly fathom a supermarket price scanner burning someone (It's just not possible), however it's possible the girl believed it did, causing her enough psychological stress to trigger the Tourettes.

    However, if that was enough to set her off, she was going to get it pretty soon anyway with several years of stressful High School on the horizon.

  • I note that a trivial Google News search reveals that the case has already been dismissed: GoErie.com [goerie.com], Associated Press [google.com].

    Moreover, both of those reports were live hours before this story got greenlighted for the Slashdot frontpage.

    Slashdot: Yesterday's News for Nerds. Stuff that Mattered.

  • by irn (1773184) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @10:22PM (#31853088)
    Electronics causing (or at least triggering) a genetic disorder? It happens a lot. I know several people who have developed Tourettes after a few short hours of Mario Kart.
  • by sjames (1099) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @12:31AM (#31853894) Homepage

    After the plaintiffs presented their case, the judge ruled for the defendant after a motion for no suit (meaning that the plaintiff has failed to present a case that can win, even undefended) from the defense. The sad part is that the defendant is still out money and time and a jury had a couple days worth of their life wasted just to get to that point.

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