Scary Ad Causes Pedestrian To Panic & Fall Down Subway Stairs - Case Dismissed
On January 29, 2019 a New York County Supreme Court Justice, in a ten page plus decision, dismissed a most unusual claim for personal injuries. Even assuming it is true as claimed, that a poster advertising the Showtime series show about a serial killer "Dexter" was so scary and startling that it caused a woman to fall down a subway staircase at Grand Central Station - can Showtime, the advertiser or the NYC Transit Authority be held liable? The answer is no.
The plaintiff's creative argument went like this: " The Dexter advertisement was a large, deliberately oversize wraparound and dramatically distorted poster of a man under the stairs visible only to pedestrian's walking up the stairs" and was "a deliberate induction of a kinetic psycho-cognitive impulse generator of fear in the viewer- an ocular trap and a malignant optical distraction buried in the stairs that functionally operated, in certain foreseeable circumstances, as an ocular shock trap or hazard to unwary pedestrians." The Court reviewed multiple theories of liability which are an enjoyable read. Njewadda v Showtime, 2019 WL 471425
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