Man pushed into prison elevator shaft by falling door sues contracting company

By Andrey Burin | May 6, 2015

NEW ORLEANS – A man who allegedly sustained injury following a fall into an elevator pit is suing the electrical company whose employee caused a steel door to fall and propel him into the crevice.

John D. Bigner and Jodi T. Bigner filed suit against Cambas Electric, Inc., The McDonnel Group LLC and Archer Western Contractors LLC in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court on March 23.

The plaintiff asserts that on April 10, 2014 he was standing in proximity to the first floor opening of an elevator pit of Orleans Parish Prison which was undergoing construction at the time. He claims that an employee of the defendant pulled on an extension cord that was wrapped around a large metal door that was unsecured against the wall. Tugging at the cord allegedly caused the door to fall forward, striking the plaintiff in the back and knocking him into the elevator pit. The plaintiff further claims that he was taken to Concentra medical center and diagnosed with spinal stenosis and degenerative changes of the thoracic and lumber spine. On Oct. 29, 2014, he underwent a spinal stenosis decompression procedure he claims was necessary as a result of his injuries.

The defendants are accused of failing to provide a safe working environment, failing to supervise their employees, failing to properly secure the large metal door and failing to use reasonable care.

The plaintiff seeks an unspecified amount in damages for physical injury, medical bills, pain and suffering, emotional distress, disability, and lost wages.

The plaintiff is represented by James A. Marchand Jr., Elisia Shofstahl Tipton and Katie N. Lewis of the Covington-based Law Office of James A. Marchand, Jr. LLC.

This case has been assigned to Division L Judge Kern A. Reese.

Case no. 2015-02660.

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