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fatal sf elevator accident | Northern California Personal Injury Blog

Lawsuit Alleges Activist Killed by Unsafe Elevator in San Francisco

By Kelly Balamuth on April 1, 2011

The family of a prominent activist who was killed in an elevator accident in San Francisco in 2008 has filed a lawsuit suing the elevator manufacturer and the building’s owner for wrongful death, according to The New York Times.

The victim was a prominent and controversial activist in San Francisco. The accident occurred when he entered an elevator to go to the lobby. The elevator stopped suddenly after going down only half a floor. Minutes later, the man fell 60 feet to his death down the elevator shaft, and his body was only discovered six days later. After the accident, conspiracy theories abounded about whether he was murdered.

However, the victim’s mother recently filed a lawsuit alleging negligence by the elevator manufacturer and the owner of the building. Under California law, door restrictors must be installed on elevators in order to prevent the doors from opening more than four inches if the elevator is moving or is stuck between floors. The restrictors force people who are trapped in elevators to wait for help instead of attempting to climb out, which can lead to tragic results.

The elevator restrictor in the victim’s elevator was broken, allowing him to open the door and plunge to his death. Three weeks before the accident, an OSHA inspector reported to the elevator manufacturer that the door restrictor had been disabled and turned upside down. The elevator needed a spare part which was never ordered, and the problem was forgotten.

Elevators that are available to the public must be safe. If you have lost a loved one as the result of an unsafe condition inside a public building, contact the Northern California wrongful death attorneys at Balamuth Harrington at 888-254-1234. We will discuss your case with you and help you understand your legal options.

Attorney Kelly Balamuth was profiled in the
September 2013 Issue of Plaintiff Magazine.

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