Mind the Gap

Rotting Wood

Elevator Case Goes Down

The plaintiff, a disabled man on crutches, alleged that he was injured when repeatedly struck and “pinned” by a closing elevator door in a town building, sustaining injuries to his neck, shoulders, back, left arm, knees, hip and leg. He further alleged that he developed a blood-borne infection and/or sepsis of the damaged disc. The plaintiff alleged that the elevator door malfunctioned and should have been equipped with a sensor or “electric eye.”

The plaintiff’s counsel named a witness to testify as to the pressure of the door and its impact on the plaintiff, but we moved successfully to have the witness barred from testifying. Before trial we also filed thirteen motions to preclude the plaintiff’s medical expert, Dr. Johns. We argued that Dr. Johns’ opinion was inadmissible pursuant to Daubert and, more importantly, that Dr. Johns’ written report had actually been authored by plaintiff counsel. Ironically, the court denied this motion. However, following plaintiff’s opening argument, the defendants filed a motion for a directed verdict on the grounds that the plaintiff had failed to allege that any defective condition existed with the subject elevator. Although the judge gave plaintiff’s counsel additional time to make said argument, plaintiff counsel failed to do so. The judge allowed the motion for a directed verdict at the close of opening statement.


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