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Elevator company, hospital deny liability in suit over malfunctioning elevator

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Nov 14, 2017

An elevator company argues that a woman failed to watch out for her own safety when a malfunctioning elevator’s doors allegedly closed on her, causing her to suffer injuries that required surgery.

Christine Braunseis filed the complaint on March 17 against St. Elizabeth's Hospital of the Hospital Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis and Otis Elevator Company.

In her complaint, Braunseis alleges she was in the course and scope of her employment with Lincoln Surgical Group when she was at the hospital on Feb. 20. She claims that as she was walking toward and into the elevator, it malfunctioned and suddenly closed, striking and knocking her to the ground.

As a result, Braunseis claims she suffered serious injuries that required surgeries.

She alleges the hospital failed to take appropriate steps to repair the elevator upon receiving prior notice of its malfunction.

Otis answered the complaint on Oct. 20 through attorneys Steven Rouse and Steven Smiejek of Molzahn, Reed, Rouse & Berger LLC in Chicago, denying liability.

In its affirmative defenses, Otis argues that Braunseis caused her own alleged injuries by carelessly and negligently failing to exercise a reasonable degree of care and caution for her own safety and wellbeing.

The defendant also argues that the plaintiff failed to avoid the open and obvious condition, barring her from recovering any damages.

St. Elizabeth’s Hospital previously answered the complaint on July 14 through attorney Michael Nester of Donovan Rose Nester PC in Belleville, denying liability and arguing that the plaintiff’s alleged injuries were the result of her own negligence.

Braunseis is represented by Thomas Q. Keefe III of Keefe, Keefe & Unsell PC in Belleville.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 17-L-134

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Organizations in this Story

Donovan Rose Nester P.C. Keefe Keefe and Unsell PC St. Clair County Circuit Court