Senior Citizen Claims Injury, Window Glass Too Clear

March 24, 2012

An 83 year-old visitor to the Genius Bar at the Manhasset (NY) retail store has filed a lawsuit claiming she suffered injuries when she walked head-long into the glass front doors, which she claims were not sufficiently marked to warn of the hazards of clear glass. As first reported by the New York Post, Evelyn Paswall filed her lawsuit in Federal District Court this week, saying she broke her nose on December 13, 2011 when she tried to enter the store. She is asking for damages over $75,000 to cover her medical costs, both past and future. The Manhasset store is one of four stores with a similar design: the others are Scottsdale Quarter (Ariz.), Lincoln Park (Chicago) and the just-opened Highland Village (Tex.). The stores have huge windows at either end, composed of several panels of low-iron glass that are formulated to be very clear. It’s not clear if New York state building codes require warning stockers on retail store windows. However, Apple began installing rectangular warning stickers on store front windows some time before January 2011. A photo of the Manhasset store taken in October 2011 shows stickers in place on the front windows and doors, and all other U.S. stores now reportedly also have the stickers. Famously, a passerby at the Lincoln Park (Chicago) retail store walked into the window glass at the south end of the building the night before the store’s grand opening, in full view of the overnight waiting line. A fire department ambulance crew arrived to treat the woman’s bleeding nose, but she declined a trip to the hospital. Download Paswall’s lawsuit for more details of her incident.

This is Apple's official portrait of the Manhasset store, showing the north, non-entrance end of the building without warning stickers. The opposite (south) end of the building has a double door entrance, and as of Oct. 2011 had stickers on the front window and both doors.

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Howie Isaacks March 24, 2012 at 1355

Oh jeez. I’m sorry she was injured, but how is this Apple’s responsibility? Everyone else seems to be able to enter an Apple store without breaking their nose. Does anyone take responsibility for their own actions anymore? This is sad.

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Brenda J Pass March 24, 2012 at 2058

The problem is that America does not see the growing problem of care of the elderly. As you age, your vision becomes impaired and what you young folks may see, becomes a hazard for the elderly. I’m right there with this lady. What is wrong with a wall and door? Does everything have to be glass? If a product is appealing it will sell whether the store LOOKS good or not.

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James March 26, 2012 at 1110

The commenter clearly understands neither Apple stores specifically, or Apple itself. Apple stores don’t look how they do by accident – they are local expressions of the brand and its design ethos and the way of life that goes with the brand/Apple devices. Not everything has to be glass, true – but if Apple stores DIDN’T look this way, then they wouldn’t be Apple stores, and Apple wouldn’t be Apple. Everything’s connected – you can’t simply excise the one element you don’t like, and expect the rest to continue forwards. In any event, the woman in question needs to take some personal responsibility – running into glass is an accident, and it is your responsibility, and not Apple’s.

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Doug March 26, 2012 at 1530

Seriously? you are going to defend this lady? Because what? Apple was the first company to use a glass door? She didn’t run into the side of the building…she found the door and ran into that! Glass door’s have been in use for more than a couple years I believe and many don’t have warning stickers on them.

I felt bad for this lady when I first heard that she broke her nose, and I hope the Apple Store employees were very helpful, but as soon as we shift to asking for 1 million dollars for her misfortune, I stop feeling sorry and just get angry. Take personal responsibility for your self.

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Howie Isaacks March 31, 2012 at 2218

So, Apple has to make design choices based upon the possibility of elderly people running into a glass door? Old or not, it’s still the individual’s responsibility to make a choice about whether they go to an Apple store or not. Apple should not have to sacrifice their unique style and branding for people who obviously should not be wandering around without assistance. Accidents happen. Businesses cannot anticipate every possible danger. We should all exercise some personal responsibility and understand that sometimes, we are the ones to blame.

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Amy December 8, 2012 at 1115

It seems that there are a few misconceptions about this issue:

First of all not only old people, young people too run into glass walls and doors and it doesn’t happen only at apple stores it happens all over. I have read online reports from store employees (apple and others) who say that they see this happening all the time. I also asked my doctor and my ENT (Ear-Nose-Throat) specialist and they confirmed that this kind of injury happens often. So let’s stop victimizing the victim. Glass is sold as “an invisible wall” and so sometimes, under some light and shadow conditions it might indeed be invisible to some people. In such cases it can be hazardous.

According to New York State Department of Labor the owner or affected tenant or both of any building used as a mercantile establishment are responsible.

However, that does not mean that APPLE or any other establishment has to relinquish it’s love of glass. All it has to do is mark the glass properly so a wide range of the population can see it. This can be done beautifully and elegantly, does not cost much and is easy to do. Not to do is negligent. This is why a person injured in cases where marking was not properly made should be compensated properly.

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AdamChew March 24, 2012 at 2101

Some people will do anything to make a buck.

The saddest thing is some old folks think the world owe them a living and demand respect when they themselves showed none whatsoever. And it is just that their selfish behavior that gets to me.

Sad.

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fritz March 27, 2012 at 1653

are u elderly??? i’m not, and i do understand that some people of age have problems seeing, hearing and/or walking… if the lawsuit improves apple stores worldwide it’s a good thing for all of us… we all get old, or if we’re very unlucky, we face a disability…

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Howie Isaacks March 31, 2012 at 2221

There’s nothing wrong with the Apple stores! It’s her fault. You actually contradict yourself. You mention that we all get old. Since that’s true, shouldn’t we all understand that as we age, the world doesn’t just stop for us? Don’t we have a responsibility to take proper precautions?

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fritz March 31, 2012 at 2353

what precautions? to no go out??? ur clearly not of age…

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Actual Employee March 24, 2012 at 2117

The source is the New York Post. Who knows if this tale is true given that the Post is 99% gossip rag material.

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Howie Isaacks March 31, 2012 at 2223

If you’re an “actual employee”, then you know it’s against Apple policy to comment on any blogs where Apple is the subject.

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Actual Employee April 3, 2012 at 2341

So what? does it make the New York Post suddenly the most reliable source in the world that never posts a single bit of gossip etc.

No it doesn’t.

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James March 25, 2012 at 1636

The accident sounds legitimate to me. Eyesight declines as we get older. And even when we’re younger, glass can be hard to see sometimes. I know a guy in his 20s who walked into a glass patio door.

I love the design of Apple’s stores, but they should mark the glass as a safety precaution.

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David March 25, 2012 at 1653

I’m not surprised this happened. When I worked at apple retail, someone would walk right into the glass door in the morning before we opened or in the evening after we closed at least ONCE a week. I’ve seen people both young and old walk straight into the glass even with the markers on the window.

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Visual Lead March 29, 2012 at 0846

At my store we like to call the warning stickers “Dummy Dots”

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Actual Employee April 3, 2012 at 2342

Be careful or Howie will come tell you that you’re not supposed to be making comments.

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fight.the.stupids March 29, 2012 at 1556

When I worked at an ARS we had a glass staircase with a glass wall under it. A customer walked into it and got a bloody nose once – this was many years ago – around 7 or 8 maybe. We got him some clothes to stop the bleeding and he left.

The next day he came back and asked what we were going to give him for walking into the wall. My manager said, “nothing” and sort of laughed it off. Be more careful and watch where you’re going, people. Accidents happen, you can’t always hold someone liable and expect to get a million bucks.

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Just another cog March 30, 2012 at 0838

This is a growing concern for me as a employee/stockholder/consumer. I watched it happen three times in 15 minutes just yesterday. 2 outgoing and one incoming customer. In these cases a contributing factor was the transition from bright outside sun to shadowed entryway of our outside mall store. The shadowing throws off a persons depth perception as well as blending the big ass door handles with the back round the person is walking toward. Also due to our climate our doors are left open much of the year so for many customers the expectation is the doors are open all the time. Then Surprise!
I’ll be speaking with the leadership team and staff tomorrow to see how we can save our customers from the embarrassment and possible injury.

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Actual Employee April 2, 2012 at 0823

Every store has their doors locked wide open during business hours. My store is out side and short of a tsunami we have to keep them open even though we’ve had doors busted by windows.

Given how freaking noisy and crowded they are how did she not hear where the opening was or see the flood of folks coming in and out.

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If only... January 14, 2013 at 1944

… her name were Evelyn Pasglass.

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