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Man saved by Apple Watch loses lawsuit against the county for bizarre reason

Apple Watch Series 7
Apple Watch Series 7 (Image credit: Stephen Warwick / iMore)

What you need to know

  • A man who fell from a cliff in New Jersey and was saved by his Apple Watch has lost his attempt to sue Monmouth County.
  • James Prudenciano fell from a cliff and suffered three fractures in his back as well as a broken leg.
  • A judge tossed his suit because it was filed late, and rejected a claim the man was too injured to seek an attorney and file a timely complaint.

A man who credited his Apple Watch with saving his life after a major fall in a New Jersey park has had his suit against the county thrown out because it wasn't filed within the required 90 days.

APP reports:

Television interviews a hiker did in the days after his 20-foot fall off a cliff in Hartshorne Woods Park thwarted his attempt to get extra time to sue Monmouth County, according to a New Jersey Appellate Court ruling. James Prudenciano made headlines in 2019 when a feature on his Apple watch detected the fall and called 911 with his location. But the fall also resulted in serious injuries that Prudenciano claims were caused because the trails in Hartshorne Woods were poorly maintained, marked and lit.

In October 2019 Prudenciano fell from a cliff into a river while on a date in Hartshorne Woods Park in Middletown. He broke his back in three places but his Apple Watch alerted emergency services to the fall, allowing him to be rescued. At the time, Prudenciano said that he credited his Watch with saving his life.

Prudenciano went on to sue Monmouth county over claims the trails were poorly maintained, marked, and lit, however, a judge tossed out the case because it wasn't filed within the required 90 days. Lawyers ford Prudenicano told the court he was bedridden and immobile for three months, hence why the suit was not filed in time. However, the original judge in the case and an appeal court both ruled that Prudenciano should have been able to get legal help and file his case in time, as evidenced by the fact he appeared on TV to conduct two interviews with news outlets:

Plaintiff's injuries were indisputably severe. However, as (Oxley) found, they were only partially debilitating and did not prevent plaintiff from seeking redress within the statutory time frame," the appellate ruling said."(Oxley) correctly found that plaintiff's claims are belied by the news articles showing him participating in an interview outside his home within the week after his fall."

Apple's health and emergency alert features continue to be one of its best Apple Watch features in devices like the Apple Watch Series 7. Last week a story of a young woman in Sydney emerged after a thyroid problem she had went unchecked for two months despite her Apple Watch picking up on her dramatic change in health.

Stephen Warwick
Stephen Warwick

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple.

4 Comments
  • Definitely not "bizarre" as he was able to get an attorney(who could have also filed on his behalf), do news conferences and obviously move about some. He could have filed the paperwork in the appropriate amount of time.
  • How is this bizarre? He had a set time frame to file and chose not to, but did choose to do interviews. Unless he was in a coma I'm pretty sure he could make a phone call to any number of attorneys, and if he could not hold a phone I'm sure he could have a relative or loved one call on his behalf.
  • Actually, what happened is in no way bizarre but rather pretty typical. Dunno why y'all would characterize it as such without, you know, getting a clue first.
  • Even if he had filed on time, he claims the trails were poorly maintained, marked, and lit. Really, it's in a park, and presumably at night, since he complains all of outdoors isn't lit. If you don't know how to use a flashlight, and can't find the trail, stay off it. They don't put guardrails and street lights on trails where I live. The 90 days was probably to find some shyster that would take the case.