City Finds Fault With Maintenance Company in Deadly Elevator Accident

The blame for the elevator accident death of advertising executive Suzanne Hart rests with the maintenance company who had worked on the elevator just minutes before the tragic accident, according to the city’s Department of Buildings and the Department of Investigations. As a result, the city has suspended the license of that company, Transel Elevator, and is seeking to have it revoked.

On the morning of December 14, 2011, repair workers finished their work on elevator nine at 285 Madison Avenue. They left the building at 9:55 a.m. At 9:56 a.m. Ms. Hart began to enter elevator nine and was pinned between floors when the elevator lurched upwards. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to the NY Times, the elevator repair workers made three mistakes, mistakes which ultimately caused the elevator accident and Hart’s death:

  1. They failed to re-enable a safety circuit after they had completed their work. This circuit had been bypassed for their maintenance work to be completed.
  2. They did not call the Buildings Department for an inspection before putting the elevator back in service.
  3. They failed to post notice that the elevator was being worked on.

Had the safety circuit been re-enabled, there is a good chance Ms. Hart wouldn’t have lost her life in an elevator accident that morning.

The commissioner of the Buildings Department released a statement saying, “These workers and their supervisors failed to follow the most basic safety procedures, and their carelessness cost a woman her life.”

The temporary suspension on Transel Elevator’s license, filed after the elevator accident, bans them from working on elevators at all. According to their website, they regularly service 2,500 elevators in the city. Following the accident, the city inspected Transel’s elevators citywide and found 23 violations.

A civil case is no doubt in the works and criminal charges have not been ruled out.

Thousands, if not millions, of New Yorkers ride elevators in their own office buildings, residential buildings, and businesses every single day. We take it for granted that these machines will carry us safely to our destinations. When they don’t, tragedy can occur.

If you’ve been injured in an elevator accident and are in need of legal counseling, contact us today. At Omrani & Taub, we’ve represented numerous individuals who were hurt through no fault of their own. We can work to get you the compensation you deserve. Call us for a free initial consultation at 212-LAW-SUIT (212-529-7848).