Brielle Goldfaden, attorney with Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, obtained a $1,100,000.00 settlement for a cleaner injured in an elevator. Brielle’s client worked as a cleaner and forewoman at One New York Plaza, a 50-story commercial office building in Downtown Manhattan.

In 2011, after 41 years of employment, with a nearly spotless attendance record, she was injured in a traumatic elevator accident, through no fault of her own. She was riding in a freight elevator at the building, which had a long history of problems. The hallway doors would not close on windy days. On the day of the accident, the elevator stopped on the loading-dock level to discharge another passenger. Brielle’s client was the only remaining passenger, and the hallway doors did not close on their own, so a construction worker working at the building pushed on the doors in an effort to help it close. The effort was successful and the doors closed, allowing the elevator with Brielle’s client to descend to the basement, but the door became dislodged and pushed into the shaft. As the elevator rose from the basement, it crashed into the hallway door protruding into the shaft, and came to an abrupt stop from ascending at a rate of 800 feet per minute. The crash was caught on the elevator’s security camera.

Although our client did not fall or strike her body in the crash, she sustained back injuries as a result of the rapid deceleration, including multiple herniated discs, and developed chronic pain syndrome. After receiving many spinal injections and physical therapy, our client underwent the implantation of a spinal cord stimulator - a device that sends electrical current to the spinal cord to relieve pain.

After Brielle defeated the defendants’ multiple motions for summary judgment wherein the building and elevator company unsuccessfully attempted to avoid liability, Brielle was able to bring together all of the parties to multiple rounds of mediation. She ultimately settled the case for $1,100,000 in court, prior to trial.

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