Most Ridiculous Lawsuits: Resident files $1.7B claim with City Hall

DOWNTOWN — What is the value of human health?

Denise Barton has a number: $1.7 billion, plus another $1.7 million every month thereafter.

Barton, known amongst City Council regulars for her detailed reports during public comment periods, filed a claim against City Hall for that hefty sum alleging that new “smart” parking meters were impacting her health.

In the claim, Barton asserts that radiation from the wireless signals emanating from the meters, which is similar to Wi-Fi Internet or cellular waves, is causing ringing in her ears, ear infections and tightness on the back, left side of her neck.

“I know it seems a little big,” Barton said, “but they can’t do things that affect people’s health without their consent. I think that’s wrong.”

Barton’s problems began in April, not long after the meters began rolling out throughout the city.

She went to the doctor in late May with an ear infection, which required antibiotics to cure.

Barton is concerned because there is some evidence, including a flag raised by the World Health Organization, that the low-level radiation may cause cancer and other illnesses in humans.

This claim is the only time that anyone has raised the issue about the meters, wrote Assistant Finance Director Don Patterson in an e-mail.

“The Wi-Fi is very low level and only communicates between the meter and the sensor, about 5 to 8 feet,” Patterson wrote.

Furthermore, the cellular communication only occurs when the meter is in use, like when a person uses a credit card to put time on the meter or when a car arrives or departs.

“It’s the same as someone using a cell phone walking on the sidewalk,” Patterson wrote. “The meters comply with all necessary regulations related to wireless communication.”

A very vocal minority of people have begun raising the issue of whether or not that is enough ...

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