Hand-in-elevator-door case set for trial Dec. 3

Steve Gonzalez Nov. 20, 2007, 7:00am

Robert Wilson

Edward Bott, Jr

Madison County Circuit Judge David Hylla will preside over a trial against Kone Elevator and Saint Anthony's Hospital set to begin Dec. 3.

Erma Smith filed the suit against Kone and the hospital alleging she injured herself when she used her hand to stop an elevator door from closing.

The incident took place June 9, 2005.

Smith claims Kone breached its duty by failing to have an adequate safe sensor system in the opening to prevent the doors closing on a passenger.

She also claims the elevator company failed to warn of the hazards of the door, failed to recommend safety devices to the hospital and failed to maintain the elevator.

Smith claims her hand injuries are permanent and progressive, caused disability, medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.

The defendants argue any injury Smith suffered was caused by her comparative fault in attempting to stop closure of the elevator doors by inserting her hand between two doors that were closing.

They claim any injury or damage she sustained was caused by her voluntary assumption of a known risk of injury by inserting her hand between two closing doors.

Saint Anthony's is represented by Edward Bott, Jr. of St. Louis.

At trial, Kone plans to call three witnesses, Ed Snyder, Elaine Turner and Loretta McKean who will testify regarding their observations of the incident.

Kone will also call Smith regarding injuries she received prior to the date of the elevator incident.

Kone will also ask her about factual circumstances regarding all workers' compensation claims brought against her employer for alleged injuries to her upper extremities prior to the door incident.

Kone has two controlled expert witnesses planned for trial.

David Jasper, an elevator mechanic from Kone's St. Louis office, will testify about the maintenance performed on the elevator both before and after the alleged incident. He will also testify about the design, function, operation, safety features, industry standards and door detectors.

Jasper also is anticipated to testify that the door detector and other safety devices were properly installed and functioning correctly.

Another Kone mechanic, Bryan Porter, is anticipated to have similar testimony.

Kone is represented by Michael Dahlen of Carbondale.

The trial is expected to last a week.

Robert Wilson of Granite City represents Smith.

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