Woman Sues After Witnessing Co-Worker Crushed By Elevator

elevator fall woman crushed lawsuitTerrified by the memory of witnessing a co-worker being crushed to death by a falling elevator, a New York City woman is suing her employer and the company responsible for the machine's maintenance.

New York's Daily News reports that Kathleen Mullahy, 36, is incapable of stepping foot in an elevator "out of fear of bodily injury and/or death," according to documents filed in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Mullahy witnessed firsthand the gruesome death of Suzanne Hart, 41, after a malfunction of an elevator in the 25-story midtown office building in which both women worked. Both women worked for the international advertising firm Y&R, formerly known as Young & Rubicam.

In a sworn affidavit, Mullahy further says that she was trapped inside the elevator cab with Hart's body "for an extended period of time after witnessing the horrific death."

In court papers, Mullahy, the daughter of a retired New York Police Department detective, detailed the events of the incident. She entered the elevator around 10 a.m. and when the button for the fifth floor was pushed, the elevator shot up "as [Hart] was still entering the elevator and before the doors were entirely closed," the News reports.

"The elevator . . . eventually crushed her to death as [it] approached the second floor. The elevator then got stuck."

Mullahy, an executive assistant who has worked for Y&R for 12 years, is asking the court to preserve the elevator in its post-accident condition to give her legal team time to inspect it.

She is also asking that documents detailing inspection and maintenance of the elevator be made available.

The elevators in the building have been inoperative since the incident more than two weeks ago, but those that rise to the building's upper floors were due to resume operation Tuesday.

In the building's lobby Tuesday, a framed photograph of Hart hung in the lobby with flowers below it, radio station WINS reports.

Employees hugged each other near the working elevator bank upon their emotional return back to work on Tuesday, the news station says.

"Everybody's pulling together to get things done and doing a fine job," one man told WINS. "Everybody's on edge a little bit but we'll get through it."

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I am sure the money she is asking is going to solve all her traumatic problems. It will also teach everyone a lesson so that this doesn't happen again. I wonder if accidents just happen and no one is at fault. Why take the chance - its better to assume everyone is at fault and grab as much money as possible. If this is the way this person thinks, she will never be happy. She must go through life thinking she is a victim and material possessions is the way to happiness. Good luck with that!

June 27 2012 at 5:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Filing a lawsuit against her employer B&Y is ridiculous, they are tenants in this office building and do not own it. The Property Owner is responsible for the building's mechanical systems keeping in safe working order, and have an elevator company who handles the maintenance and repairs. She probably has a legal case for compensation for emotional trauma as to paying for long term therapy.

May 08 2012 at 7:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I could see whomever is in charge of maintaining a safe elevator making direct payments to a therapist for billed services helping this woman deal with the trauma of witnessing this awful accident but beyond that is ridiculous.

May 08 2012 at 5:35 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jeanneweanne's comment

Witnessing something like that can be completely dibilitating. My mom witnessed something similar as a teenager and had anxiety attacks for years. She still has horrible nightmares 30 years later. Her quality of life was greatly affected. If the company who maintins the elevator did (or didn't do) something that caused this she should be able to sue for mental trauma beyond just therapy. However, if it was just a freak accident that wasn't in any way preventable I agree just the bills should be enough.

May 08 2012 at 9:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am quite sure it was a terrible sight to witness....but...hey....things happen and suing due to whatever is not going to change anything...except her bank account. I agree people are sue crazy and prevent other cases from getting their day in court. In a "free" .....so called society...she has a right.

January 04 2012 at 10:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hi marlene

I would be very surprised if the family didn't sue, if anything so steps are taken so this never happens again. Witnessing this had to be awful but the real victims was the women who died this way.

January 04 2012 at 6:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hi marlene

This was a horrific incident, but I'm not clear what the employer could have done about it if the elevators had passed city inspection, and I don't think Y&R owned the building. I thought they were in the process of moving out in a few months anyway.

January 04 2012 at 6:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

she needs to get over it. this country is out of hand

January 04 2012 at 5:06 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Hey, they paid all the relatives of the people in 911 that perished, why shouldn't they pay this Lady? I think the Gov't should kick in a few million for her pain and suffering also. And all those people made to take the steps while the elevators are down should be entitled to a few hundrew thousand by the Gov't also.

January 04 2012 at 4:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

That's a pretty horrible thing to witness. I feel for her. I'm not sure money will help, but it will take a long time to recover from that trauma. Unless you've seen a friend or relative die a violent death you don't know what she is going through. But in time she will heal. Condolences to her and to the family of the victim.

January 04 2012 at 3:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

OMG - not ANOTHER lawsuit! Well, I guess you might as well make a few $$$$ off your friend's demise!

January 04 2012 at 3:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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