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California women reach settlement in falling elevator case

Elevator fell 11 stories before trapping the women inside

When you think of Southern California thrill rides, Disneyland comes to mind. But a mother and daughter had a real-life “Tower of Terror” experience in an Orange County office building when the elevator in which they were riding reportedly fell 11 stories and trapped them inside. More than two years after the incident, the women have reached an undisclosed settlement with building owner The Irvine Co. and ThyssenKrupp Elevator Corp.

According to the original suit filed in June 2011 by Janet and Sufeir Hsu, “All of a sudden, the elevator started to fall. As the elevator rapidly descended, we fell hard on the floor inside the elevator, and the light fixtures like the metal brackets and glass from the ceiling started falling down, too.”

Firefighters arrived quickly, but decided to wait one hour for an elevator technician after an unsuccessful attempt to pry open the doors. The women claim that The Irvine Co. was motivated by money—elevator repairs can cost more than $100,000—and that the ordeal constituted “false imprisonment” and “intentional infliction” of distress. They originally sought $20,666 for medical costs, and unspecified damages for emotional suffering.

The Irvine Co. and ThyssenKrupp denied any wrongdoing, with the latter claiming that the incident was “an unforeseeable act of God.” All of the building’s elevators passed inspections before and after the accident.

Read more at The Orange County Register.

Alanna Byrne

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