Falling elevator case set for trial March 29 in federal court

Michelle Massey Mar. 12, 2010, 11:38am

With settlement negotiations stalled and summary judgment motions denied, several companies will soon be heading to trial to argue who is responsible for a falling elevator in a parking garage owned by Hertz Texaco Center.

Donna Meschel Lascolar's suit against Schindler Elevator Corp., Standard Parking Corp., Standard Parking Corp. IL, Hertz Texaco Center, Hertz Texaco Manager, Inc. and U.S. Security Associates, Inc., is set for jury trial March 29 in the New Orleans federal court of the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Lascola alleges she sustained shoulder and neck injuries while on an elevator descent from the 8th floor of a parking garage. She claims the elevator jerked and dropped suddenly.

In her complaint, Lascola alleges that garage attendants were aware of problems and placed a sign on the ground floor that indicated the elevator was out of service. However, the elevator was not turned off, and there were no "out of service" signs placed on other floors, she claims.

Lascola states that at the time of the incident she would not have used the elevator if there was a sign indicating it was out of service.

Defendants have filed counter-claims against each other, trying to determine who is responsible for the incident.

Schindler claims it is not liable because it took reasonable care in maintaining the elevator.

Hertz argues that it is under an elevator maintenance agreement with Schindler that requires it to indemnify Hertz from liability if any injury results from work on the elevator.

Schindler counters that the indemnity clause does not apply because the accident was caused by the failure of Hertz to take the elevator out of service.

Schindler made these arguments in a motion for summary judgment that was denied on March 12 by U.S. District Judge Ivan L.R. Lemelle.

Lascola is seeking damages for medical expenses, pain, suffering and lost wages – past, present, and future.

Covington attorneys S.C. Garcia, III and Christine I. MacKinnon of Garcia and Bishop are representing Lascola.

Case No 2:08cv04802

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