On Wednesday, a judge in Erie, Pennsylvania, ruled that Dominica Juliano and her mother had failed to present enough evidence to prove that 12-year-old Dominica had actually been injured by a bar-code scanner, as plaintiffs had claimed. According to the plaintiffs, Dominica was hurt when a clerk at a Country Fair convenience store waved the scanner in front of her face. Allegedly, the clerk said the girl seemed to be "grumpy" and tried to get her to smile by shining the scanner's light at her.
Because no good deed goes unpunished, the company got sued for this. The Juliano clan alleged that Dominica is especially sensitive to light, and that the scanner had caused burns to her face and eyelashes. They also claimed she had developed severe psychological problems, including post-traumatic stress and even Tourette's syndrome, as a result of being scanned.
It isn't clear what evidence (if any) they presented that any of this could actually be caused by a supermarket bar-code scanner, although I would like to think that Dominica took the stand and shouted obscenities at the jury for a while.
Country Fair's lawyer, Bruce Decker, pointed out that the scanner did not use laser light as plaintiffs seemed to believe, but rather used an LED, and that either way, there was no evidence that the scanner had caused, or was even capable of causing, the injuries alleged. He moved for a nonsuit at the close of plaintiffs' case, and the judge granted the motion.
How a case like this got to trial at all is a good question, especially given that there was apparently security-camera footage of the incident that, surprisingly, did not appear to show the girl either in pain or swearing uncontrollably. The local newspaper said it had been unable to reach anyone for comment on the verdict, suggesting that everybody involved would like to just pretend this case never happened.
Link: Erie Times-News