Elevator injury case dismissed

  • The Fairmont Southampton

A man who injured his hand on his first day of work at the Fairmont Southampton has lost a lawsuit against the hotel.

Glenn Chase alleged a poorly maintained freight elevator at the hotel had caused the injury

But the Supreme Court found there was no evidence to support his case and dismissed the case.

The court heard from an expert witness that the accident could not have happened the way Mr Chase described it.

Chief Justice Ian Kawaley said: “I am unable to make any finding as to precisely how the accident occurred but I find that there is no credible evidence that the plaintiff’s injuries were to any material extent attributable to a mechanical defect or any defect relating to the straps.”

Mr Chase also claimed he had not been properly trained to use the elevator, but Mr Justice Kawaley said the claim only arose just before the hearing.

Mr Justice Kawaley said: “It is in all the circumstances simply too late for an entirely new theory of liability to be advanced in relation to a cause of action which accrued seven years ago.”

Mr Chase was hired as a part-time kitchen steward in May, 2011. Later that week he was trained in how to use the freight elevator among other things.

Mr Chase started work on May 25 and was scheduled to work from 8pm to midnight.

He told a security officer just after midnight that he had badly injured his left hand as he closed the vertical doors of the elevator.

He alleged the elevator door was stuck and when he pulled a strap to unlodge it, the door came down on his hand.

A representative from Otis Elevator Company, said no defects were found in the door before or just after the accident. Lee Rigby, an expert witness, said the door might appear stiff to those without experience of the elevator.

He also told the court the door would not “come crashing down” — but the speed of the door would increase with heavy and sustained pulling.

Mr Justice Kawaley said: “Although Mr Rigby insisted that only minimal training on how to use the elevator was required, he did acknowledge having heard of hands being jammed between similar elevator doors by persons pulling the upper door down with the strap with one hand and attempting to pull the bottom door up with their other hand.”

The judge found there was no evidence to suggest the injury was caused by a failure to maintain the elevator. Mr Justice Kawaley said the “failure to train” allegation appeared to be the strongest claim. But he added it would be unfair to allow it to proceed due to the late nature of the allegation.

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