Man glued to toilet seat, sues store
Fri Nov 4, 8:26 AM ET
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A Colorado man who had a panic attack when he found he was glued to a toilet seat in a Home Depot restroom has sued the home improvement giant for negligence, saying staff ignored his plight.
Retired electrical engineer Bob Dougherty, 57, said on Thursday he was stuck in the stall with his pants down for about 20 minutes and that two years after the 2003 incident he was suffering from post-traumatic stress, which has triggered diabetes and heart complications.
Nov 7, '05
It's easy to laugh at something like this, but here are a couple of things to consider.
I'd be thinking his main motive was a big financial score if he'd filed this suit right after the indicent took place but he's waited more than two years.
As an EMT of 17 years, I've seen people have very strong physical reactions to any situation where they feel trapped, helpless, and at the mercy of others who may or may not respond. Had this guy been stuck in an elevator or had someone pushed him into a locked closet or meat locker, his situation might be veiwed as more dramatic. Unfortunately, the mere mention of the word toilet invites joking. In this case, that only exacerbates his plight--that of not being taken seriously.
In another article, the man stated that he didn't hold Home Depot responsible for the prank itself, but was upset over their lack of response when they found out what had happened. He didn't sound like a hysterical nutjob but rather someone who felt humilated and pretty much abandoned until EMS arrived.
The lawsuit asks for money for the medical and psychological treatment he has received and will need in the future. That seems reasonable. It does mention the humiliation factor, but it doesn't refer to punitive damages (as do some complaints that want five thousand in expenses and five million to punish the accused).
I think the guy has a point. Forget the fact that his predicament seems humorous for a moment and think about being caught in a bad situation through no fault of your own. A prank like this is not something you'd normally anticipate. Super glue is clear so it's doubtful he would have seen it even if he'd looked. It's bad enough to go through something so crazy in the first place, but then to have the Home Depot staff treat him as if he's the one pranking them and prolong the humiliation, I just have to say I feel for the guy. On a physical plane, PTSD isn't selective about whether plumbing facilities were involved or not.
I wish there would have been more effort put into trying to track down the real culprits. I haven't heard any mention of looking at security cameras or trying to determine whether it was customers or employees who pulled the stunt to begin with, but I'm sure it's too late now. In any event, according to what this man said, it wasn't the gluing itself but the panic (thinking he was having a heart attack when he couldn't stand up), the humiliation, and the lack of any kind of response--empathetic or practical--from the Home Depot staff that has caused him difficulty.
I don't know if his health claims are exaggerated. That's would be for a trial to determine. I do feel that it's unfortunate that a toilet was involved because that seems to be where people stop listening and just decide he's a kook.
Last edit by rn/writer on Nov 7, '05