Woman Sues After Witnessing Co-Worker Crushed By Elevator
Terrified 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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David Schepp has spent more than a dozen years covering business news for the electronic and print media, including Dow Jones Newswires, BBC News, Gannett Co., and most recently at AOL's DailyFinance. Nearly 10 years ago, he started writing a weekly People@Work column, looking in depth at issues facing workers in today's workplace. The syndicated column appeared in newspapers and websites nationwide before it made its debut on DailyFinance in 2010. Schepp now continues that tradition at Aol Jobs, covering the jobs beat and providing readers insight and analysis into the nation's challenging employment scene.
Schepp holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Metropolitan State College of Denver.
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