New case law has resulted from a recent release from the Court of Appeals on a personal injury case involving an elevator malfunction in the New Orleans Superdome. According to wdsu.com, the elevator was carrying 18 passengers after a Saints football game. Theelevator fell several floors and crashed.
On July 11 2014, three women who sustained injuries from the elevator malfunction were awarded compensation for their injuries and missed work. The personal injury judgment was rendered against SMG, the company who manages the elevators in the Louisiana superdome.
According to lsba.org, the first plaintiff was awarded a total of $882,097.52 (for past, present and future pain and suffering; lost wages and future lost wages; medical expenses and future medical expenses); the second plaintiff's total awarded damages was $304,918.55; the third plaintiff’s total awarded damages were $775,175.61.
The court found that the elevator crash which resulted in the injuries of the three women was not due to a defect or lack of maintenance, but rather that the elevator was loaded beyond its capacity, and that SMG failed to monitor or control the number of persons accessing the elevators after events as it should have.
The court cited two previous incidents where elevators in the superdome malfunctioned due to overcrowding, and stated as such that overcrowding in elevators after events was a “known problem”.
SMG appealed the judgement, stating that there was no actual proof that SMG had a legal obligation to provide personnel to prevent the overcrowding of their elevators. SMG also argued that the court did not find comparative fault in the three plaintiffs or the other elevator occupants. The court recently denied this appeal.