A Chicago man suffered multiple injuries after five hoist cables broke, causing the elevator in which he was riding to free-fall and crash. The incident occurred on July 5, 2006 at a Chicago Transit Authority rail station. The plaintiff, working as a janitor, entered the elevator at mezzanine level to inspect and clean the car as he rode up to the platform.
As the elevator approached platform level, all five of its hoist ropes separated. Safety devices attached to the elevator rails failed to prevent the car from falling approximately 25 feet into the elevator pit. As a result of the crash, plaintiff had to be extricated from the crushed elevator.
The plaintiff and his wife retained Thomas G. Siracusa, a partner at the Chicago personal injury law firm of Power Rogers Mr. Siracusa filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the hoist ropes and the two companies responsible for the installation and maintenance of the ropes. Plaintiffs alleged that the rope company manufactured unreasonably dangerous products.
Plaintiffs retained a metallurgical engineer who identified microscopic defects in the ropes, which ultimately caused them to break apart under the stress of regular service. In addition, plaintiffs alleged that the maintenance and service companies were negligent in their inspections of the hoist ropes. Plaintiffs retained an experienced elevator inspector, who presented evidence that the deterioration of the hoist ropes, which progressed over a period of approximately 14 months, should have been detected by competent maintenance personnel.
As a result of the elevator falling, plaintiff suffered a fractured tibia and a fractured heel, both requiring surgical repair. He also suffered an injury to his lower back. The injuries to his back and lower extremities have caused the plaintiff to use a cane for balance and have prevented him from returning to work.