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Girl Claims Price Scanner Gave Her Tourette's Syndrome 558

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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  • 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?

  • 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.
  • by celibate for life ( 1639541 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @08:08PM (#31851910)
    ... the cashier's behaviour was inappropriate. That's not how to treat a costumer.
  • 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:Fire that Judge (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sopssa ( 1498795 ) * <> 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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @08:25PM (#31852066)

    While the employees were obviously being annoying fucks, your response was much more obnoxious. I have a hard time feeling bad for the trouble they put you through, you sound like a real asshole to me.

  • Re:Fire that Judge (Score:3, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @08:27PM (#31852078)

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

  • Re:Fire that Judge (Score:2, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @08:30PM (#31852120)

    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?

  • 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.
  • Re:Fire that Judge (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Demonantis ( 1340557 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @08:40PM (#31852210)
    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.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • Long court cases (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kelson ( 129150 ) * on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @09:12PM (#31852512) Homepage Journal

    Sometimes, lawsuits take a *long* time to get through the courts to the point where they're dismissed or resolved. Six years from incident to dismissal doesn't surprise me as much as I wish it did.

    There's a book called "The True Stella Awards" [] by Randy Cassingham, which is full of documented court cases that waste time & money, set bad precedents, try to punish the wrong people, etc, and it's disheartening to see how long the process can take.

  • Re:Fire that Judge (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jarik C-Bol ( 894741 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @09:44PM (#31852768)
    faulty equipment of that nature, faulty enough to cause the kind of damage alleged, would have tripped the circuit breakers for the building, if not the whole darn block long before anyone ever had the chance to scan some kid.
  • Re:Fire that Judge (Score:4, Insightful)

    by digitalunity ( 19107 ) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {ytinulatigid}> 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.

  • by Idarubicin ( 579475 ) 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.

  • by NiteShaed ( 315799 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @10:09PM (#31852970)

    Er, putting aside the fact that nearly everything in your post is pure nonsense, the claim is that the girl was burned by the price-gun, and then later developed PTSD and Tourette's. Unless you're trying to say that this burn was caused by the power of suggestion, this girl by all rights should go up in a poof of smoke every time she encounters sunlight, seeing as how the sun puts out a little more energy than your average LED. Assuming she's not a regular Slashdot reader, that's probably something that happens to her on a fairly regular basis.

    But in my experience, mental problem are far easier fixed than most people think

    I'm gonna guess your "experience" largely consists of talking about things you don't really understand. I've been around plenty of people with mental problems, and no, there are generally no easy fixes for them.

    Reality is irrelevant for fixing such a problem. What counts is if that person believes it in her inner model, and if it makes her life bad from that point of view.

    Unless of course they're making the story up, and trying to cash in on it. Since the claim involves a physical injury that seems to be impossible to be caused as they claim it was, that's not an unreasonable suspicion.

  • Re:Litigation Land (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Shirakawasuna ( 1253648 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @10:09PM (#31852974)
    Hmm, let's see.

    Universe created itself: funny, I don't see this being any kind of non-Christian dogma. The people you're probably criticizing i.e. skeptics tend to be fine with admitting they don't know where 'everything' came from. Pretending to know things when you truly don't is a more religious idea. Yes, there's the Big Bang, but that's a highly explanatory model of how our universe formed, but does not answer the ultimate question of 'why is there something?'.

    The Nature Channel = Humanist ethics: care to name a single person who forwards this? You can certainly learn a lot about ethics itself from some nature programs, but have you ever actually met anyone who claims to base their actions on, 'lion eats dead zebra'?

    "none of us actually exist": what?

    I expect someone might claim that the "Jewish zombie' quip is just as inaccurate as your claims, but that simply isn't the case. The most that can be legitimately said about that oft-repeated meme is that it's disrespectful to Christianity and Jesus returned from the dead != undead (as if that's the point).
  • Re:Litigation Land (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hoggoth ( 414195 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @10:11PM (#31852998) Journal

    Whether it's better or not, just because you really want to believe something doesn't make it true.

    As Neitzsche said, "A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything."

  • by Bazar ( 778572 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @10:11PM (#31853000)

    Now if it happens, that the input signal is just right, it can e.g. raise the sensitivity of one neuron (or lower that of an inhibiting one), which then becomes able to trigger the swearing neurons for a lot of previously irrelevant input.

    The signal in this case is just semi-random light. If that was enough for her to develop a problem, then she was a time-bomb waiting to go off.
    If i was passing by, and i sneezed, and she "developed" her problem then, would I be libable for her problems.

    Even if the scanner developed her problem (which i don't believe for even a second), i can't see how shes justified in persueing the store. Either learn to live with it, or seek help/aid via normal disabilitiy channels.

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

    by nomadic ( 141991 ) <nomadicworld AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @10:21PM (#31853080) Homepage
    Then he did his job. My concern is that it is possible to even bring such a suit without any evidence.

    Who do you want to be the gatekeeper? The clerk's office? You'd trust deputy court clerk to decide who gets to sue and who doesn't?
  • Re:I'll Bet (Score:3, Insightful)

    by socsoc ( 1116769 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @10:23PM (#31853096)
    Well, according to daytime TV commercials, I'm pretty sure I can get rich for nearly any fraudulent lawsuit. All it takes is getting a sleazebag to see the potential. They won't get investigated and after barely passing the bar, no, they don't have brains.
  • Re:Litigation Land (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @10:49PM (#31853246)

    I understand you are upset by the parent's post, but your response doesn't really make sense.

    1. Science doesn't say the universe created itself. While we know how it started, we don't know where the components came from. So maybe the cloud of cosmic dust that became our universe was put there by God or the FSM or a mischievous elf.

    2. Ethics are the result of a highly developed brain that only humans have. Animals act barbaric because they have to survive, humans are smart enough to think our way around savagery. Also (some) animals can show empathy and coexist with others, so the Nature Channel does in fact give insight to peaceful living. Occasionally.

    3. Not sure where "none of us actually exist" comes from. Care to explain? Was that a dig at philosophy? Philosophy isn't science, and some of the most devout people have been philosophers. Religion and philosophy are not mutually exclusive.

    I never like making these posts but I always feel obligated to respond when somebody tries to attack science, because science IS NOT a replacement for religion. You can have your Ideal Gas Law and your God with no conflict.

  • Re:Fire that Judge (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @10:53PM (#31853274)
    Wow, what an Internet Tough Guy!
  • Re:Litigation Land (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rakshasa Taisab ( 244699 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @12:14AM (#31853816) Homepage

    Atheists believe in something that is obviously untrue (the non-existence of self).

    Holy batman, that's an impressive strawman. You should take it to the burning man festival, it'll impress everyone there.

  • Re:Litigation Land (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rakshasa Taisab ( 244699 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @12:17AM (#31853830) Homepage

    True, but then God said "Neitzsche is dead".

    Actually, that was said by some smartass religious guy who was still alive.

  • Re:Litigation Land (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hobdes ( 678049 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @12:44AM (#31853968)

    Anti-pokerites believe in something that is obviously untrue (the non-existence of two pair). I'm not saying you believe in this, but this turns out to be the only consistent stance that anti-pokerites fall into when they start talking about the after-round. They do this to avoid the unavoidable consequence that based on the fact that two pair exist, and didn't exist before the hand was dealt, the evidence is actually on the side of pokerites of various stripes that two pair exist again after the round.

    Why can't the "self" be a transient pattern, like "two pair" in poker?

  • Re:Litigation Land (Score:4, Insightful)

    by n dot l ( 1099033 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @12:59AM (#31854052)

    Atheists believe in something that is obviously untrue (the non-existence of self).

    Wha? Who, except for the insane, goes around claiming they don't exist? I'm an atheist. I know lots of atheists. We're all pretty sure that we really do exist.

    but this turns out to be the only consistent stance that atheists fall into when they start talking about the afterlife

    Assuming I'm not too drunk to see your masterfully subtle point right now, you're talking about "soul" when you say "self". Yeah. About that... If you want me to believe in a soul (immortal or otherwise) then you can start by defining what the damn thing is in concrete terms.

    Regardless of my lack of belief in a "soul", let me once again assure you that I am quite certain that the thing which I understand myself to be (my "self", by definition) does in fact exist. Furthermore, I assert that this belief is quite logically compatible with a lack of belief in "souls". I am baffled by assertions to the contrary, though I am willing to listen if you have a reasoned argument to such effect.

    the evidence is actually on the side of religious people of various stripes that we'll exist again after we die.

    What evidence? Religious fables? Scam-artist mediums cold-reading the dead back into "existence" for their desperate-for-comfort loved ones? I won't deny that there may be actual "supernatural" powers (given the dearth of quality science in the area I'd be a fool to hold an absolute belief) but, even so, unexplained phenomena are a far cry from proof of an afterlife.

    I'm summarizing years of arguments here

    Then you've been arguing with lunatics for years. I'd stop that if I were you... lunacy can be infectious.

    not saying that you believe in whatever, since I obviously don't know what you believe.

    Nice. Now I don't even know if you yourself believe any of what you just said. The world would be so much better if people would just say "Speaking in general terms..." in front of general statements instead of tacking on weak apologies for the perceived potential for personal offense at the end.

  • Re:Litigation Land (Score:5, Insightful)

    by n dot l ( 1099033 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @01:11AM (#31854112)

    I'm not framing their argument the way they would ("we're just collections of atoms, nothing special about us") in order to highlight the absurdity of it.

    Yeah, I'm not seeing the absurdity.

    The universe is fucking amazing. If there's anything absurd here, it's looking at the vastness of the cosmos and all of the ridiculously cool shit in it and thinking, "Oh, the fact that I vaguely understand the underlying principles renders this all meaningless. However, I assert (based on nothing but my own whims) that I am not meaningless. Therefore I must be composed of something more than mere energy. Ignore the fact that I'm treating a particularly human concept (meaning) like some sort of real (and for unexplained reasons desirable) substance."

    Being reasonably certain that I'm a collection of atoms renders me (or anyone) no more meaningless, worthless, or absurd than being reasonably certain I know how Sol's light is made renders sunsets ugly.

  • Re:Grumpy (Score:4, Insightful)

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


    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:Fire that Judge (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Vectormatic ( 1759674 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @03:45AM (#31854882)

    There is an important legal principle; the egg shell skull [] which says that when he shone his light in her face, he should have taken this possibility into account.

    while i agree with personal responsibility and all, in modern day america that egg shell skull thing would cripple all human contact if you actually think about it.. suddenly you would have to consider that the guy who's hand i am shaking might have severe calcium deficiency in his bones, and i might have to pay for destroying half of his skelleton if i shake just a tiny bit too hard...

    besides, a kid that vulnerable to light, should be locked up in a dark room. If a single low-power led can burn her face, it is a miracle she made it to the age of 12 without being completely covered in 3rd degree burns..

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2010 @03:52AM (#31854912)

    So what? We still had some fun mocking a few technology retards and discussing the topic. Do I have to return any entertainment had now?

  • Re:Litigation Land (Score:2, Insightful)

    by UnbelieverOz ( 1178645 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:36AM (#31855096)

    If you look at modern society, for all the avaunted Atheist claims of being just as moral as the next guy, they give tremendously less of their time and money to helping others, even though they typically tend to be much better off than the average Christian.

    Even if that's true - citation? - that could well be because Christians use their time and money to 'help' people see things their way...

  • Re:Fire that Judge (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ZorbaTHut ( 126196 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:49AM (#31855152) Homepage

    People don't get "hypnotized into believing that something is burning them" via a bright light. Your claim is that a trained hypnotist can cause it to occur, presumably via the power of suggestion because that's all hypnotism really is. If the teller wasn't telling her "oh, this is burning you" then nothing of that sort was happening.

    She's not an epileptic and she didn't have a seizure. If that were the case, he'd be getting sued for that.

    There is no scientific evidence to indicate that anything you're claiming might have occured. There aren't even *unreputable* stories hinting at it, to say nothing of reputable ones. You've taken multiple unrelated concepts and jammed them together into a complete hypothetical.

    Here, I'll list them.

    * A trained hypnotist can cause burns with an *ice cube*. This is true! However, it's believed that this is because "cold" and "hot" are interpreted very similarly by the human body. LED lights are neither cold nor hot, and therefore this confusion cannot occur.
    * A *trained hypnotist* can cause burns with an ice cube. The teller was not a trained hypnotist and did not suggest, in any way, that she should be burned by anything.
    * She has claimed to get Tourette's. To the best of my knowledge, Tourette's cannot be gotten via LED lights.
    * I have no idea why you brought epilepsy up, considering that epilepsy does not result in any of the symptoms described and was not mentioned by anyone involved.

    Unless you can show some reasonable method via which the teller caused this maliciously, or should have somehow known it was a problem - a specific problem, note, which has, to the best of my knowledge, never occured once in the history of humanity - then there is no way this is even remotely a valid case, and waving your hands and talking about magic doesn't change any of that.

  • Re:Litigation Land (Score:2, Insightful)

    by UnbelieverOz ( 1178645 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @05:31AM (#31855268)

    Which goes right back to my point that even though they all say they do, the data shows they don't as much as religious people, even though they're much better off overall.

    If you are making claims about something, back it up with something other than repetition of your own words. You appear to be claiming: a) atheists brag about their good deeds b) atheists help less than the religious c) atheists are 'better' off than the religious .... with no evidence whatsoever. Maybe you just have 'faith' that things are so?

  • Re:Litigation Land (Score:2, Insightful)

    by RianDouglas ( 778462 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @07:03AM (#31855648)

    I could explain how law in OT times is different from the conception of law that we have these days, and of the difference between moral and ritual law, and how they apply differently to Christians, and how this stance is consistent, and has been consistent for 2000 years, but it's 2AM, and I don't really feel like it.

    There doesn't seem to be much that has been consistent about Christianity for 2000 years, so I'd be interested in this explanation of yours. Also, the OT is a older than 2000 years (some of it quite a bit older). I doubt you can justifiably claim consistency for it's entire duration.

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