Transel Elevator, Inc., the company responsible for maintaining the elevators in the Manhattan office building where a young advertising executive was killed last December, has fired five of its elevator mechanics in connection with the accident. Transel announced the dismissals only two days after New York City investigators reported their finding that a crucial safety system (which could have prevented the elevator accident) had been disabled.
Our attorneys have closely followed this story since it occurred (see previous posts created in January and February) and are not surprised by these latest developments. Employers often fire employees after a serious or fatal accident for various reasons, sometimes justifiably and sometimes not. What Transel’s decision to fire these mechanics will not do, however, is relieve the company of legal responsibility for employee actions occurring within the scope of employment. Continue reading
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:
- 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.
- They did not call the Buildings Department for an inspection before putting the elevator back in service.
- 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. Continue reading