Following up on the elevator tragedy that caused the death of Suzanne Hart, a Y&R ad executive working at 285 Madison Avenue, the New York Post reports that Transel, the elevator maintenance company responsible for the elevator (work was reportedly done hours before the accident that killed Hart), has been sued at least eight times from people who say they were injured in its various — some 2,500 in the city — elevators.
Among the lawsuits is one from a Union Square building super who says he fell down the elevator shaft when its doors opened before the car arrived. His lawyer says Transel had bypassed the elevator’s parking device, which would have otherwise kept the doors from opening onto the empty shaft. In another suit, a woman fell forward into an elevator that stopped and opened 8 inches above the floor she’d called it to.
Eight active cases against Transel sounds scary, even terrifying, but keep in mind these elevator stats reported by the New York Times:
The odds of dying in a New York City elevator are minuscule.
Sixty thousand elevators, literally billions of passenger-trips per year, and in 2010, three fatalities, at least some of which did not involve passengers.
Still, we say, better safe than sorry. If the elevator looks wonky, don’t get on it. And tell someone!
While Transel’s website currently says nothing about the lawsuits or the tragedy that killed Hart, the Post reports that the company has released a statement saying its “top priority has been, and continues to be, the safety of our elevators and the security of those who use them.”
285 Madison reopens next Tuesday, but only for companies on a different set of floors than those served by the elevator bank containing the one in which Hart died.
Elevator haters [NYP]
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 28, 2011