Shared from the 1/3/2017 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution eEdition


Woman sues elevator firm after nine-floor free-fall

Grady employee says her tailbone, back and legs were injured.

Navie Davis-Thomas had worked at Grady Memorial Hospital for nearly three years, using elevators in the downtown Atlanta building often.

So when she stepped inside an empty one on the 11th floor one afternoon in July 2013, she had no reason not to expect to arrive safely and soundly on the second floor.

But that’s not at all what happened, according to a negligence lawsuit refiled by her recently against Otis Elevator Co., which inspected and maintained the elevator at Grady.

The elevator went into a sudden downward free-fall for at least nine floors before coming to an abrupt stop, throwing Davis-Thomas to the floor and injuring her tailbone, lower back and legs, the filing says.

When the compartment came to a stop between two floors, Davis-Thomas wouldn’t emerge for another 40 minutes or so — 15 of which were spent repeatedly pressing the elevator alarm button with no response, according to the account.

An Otis technician eventually arrived and reset the computer to lower the car.

Attorney Tressa McCray, whose law office is handling the case, said Davis-Thomas is still suffering. Davis-Thomas’ job at the hospital was being a “sitter,” someone who acts as a patient monitor and supporting caregiver.

Her attorney, Thomas Bennett, was unavailable last week.

“It would not be appropriate for us to comment on a pending legal matter at this time,” an Otis spokeswoman said in an email.

Grady Hospital is not named in the suit.

The lawsuit, which also n a m e s t h re e u n k n ow n individuals who may have installed, repaired or had some effect on the conveyor in question, says Davis-Thomas “suffered severe emotional distress” from the fall and subsequently being trapped in the elevator.

I t a l l e g e s t h at O t i s , “through its repeated failures to maintain, inspect, and repair the elevator when they had knowledge that said elevator was malfunctioning,” showed “willful” misconduct and malice, which “constitutes a conscious indifference to the consequences.”

Davis-Thomas is seeking compensation for her injuries, pain, suffering, loss of wages and medical expenses.

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