March 30, 2014

Man Considers Legal Options after Being Trapped in Elevator for 40 Hours

By Jonathan Damashek

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After getting stuck in an elevator for 40 hours, a New York magazine editor has contacted a local law firm about filing a lawsuit. The attorneys represented another New York resident who became trapped in an elevator and almost drowned when it began to fill with water. Jonathan Damasheck, an attorney at Hecht Kleeger & Damashek, P.C., said, that “Serious psychological trauma can develop from being trapped in an elevator for as long as [the editor] was. Elevators in New York City are turning out to be dangerous to your health.” Additionally, a woman is suing a building owner, management company, plumber and sprinkler firm for $23 million in a civil law suit after her elevator filled with icy water.

Both events have left people questioning the safety of elevators. One source said, “Were it I, I’d be looking at vacation property…There’d be a huge settlement. The messengers read about it in the paper and were afraid to use elevators. There’s a vague sense of unease and nervous laughter about it happening again.” Since the incident, messengers have resisted taking the elevators. The magazine editor was trapped from 11:24 p.m. on a Friday until 3:24 p.m. on Sunday. During this time, the man called for help and pressed alarm bells – but no one heard him.

“I’m gonna be a little nervous the next couple of weeks,” said another employee, “I might make sure I’m out on time around 5 or 6 p.m. on Friday. We’ve gotten out as late as 10 or 11 p.m., and that’s when it happened. I’m gonna be out by 4:45 p.m. this Friday.” Although all of the elevators in the building have security cameras, it is unclear as to why no one saw the editor. Additionally, it is unclear as to whether human error or a mechanical malfunction is responsible for the accident. Initially, a brief drop in voltage (that lasted a tenth of a second) stalled the elevator. This drop in power doesn’t explain why building security didn’t find the man nearly two days.

No other buildings were strongly affected by the short dip in power, even though it occurred through the entire city. A spokeswoman for Rockefeller Group, Inc. – the build’s co-owner – said “That’s the heart of it, what we’re trying to determine, what happened after the triggering even, the power dip.” There seems to be no reasonable explanation as to why building security failed to see the man on camera or hear him call for help. Even after prying open the elevator doors, the man wasn’t able to get anyone else’s attention. After the accident, the editor contacted a New York attorney to determine whether or not he wanted to take legal action because of the incident.