Navie Davis-Thomas had worked at Grady Memorial Hospital for nearly three years, using elevators in the Downtown Atlanta building often.
So when she stepped inside an empty one on the 11th floor one afternoon in July 2013, she intended to arrive safely and soundly on the second floor.
But that’s not at all what happened, according to a negligence lawsuit refiled by her this month against Otis Elevator Company, which inspected and maintained the elevator at Grady.
The elevator went into a sudden downward free fall for at least nine floors before coming to an abrupt stop, throwing Davis-Thomas to the floor and injuring her tailbone, lower back and legs, the filing says.
Read the full lawsuit below.
When the compartment came to a stop between two floors, Davis-Thomas wouldn’t emerge for another 40 minutes or so — 15 of which were spent repeatedly pressing the elevator alarm button with no response, according to the account.
An Otis technician eventually arrived and reset the computer to lower the car.
Attorney Tressa McCray, whose law office is handling the case, said Davis-Thomas is still suffering. Davis-Thomas’ job at the hospital was being a “sitter,” or someone who acts as a patient monitor and supporting caregiver.
Her attorney, Thomas Bennett, was unavailable Thursday.
“It would not be appropriate for us to comment on a pending legal matter at this time,” an Otis spokeswoman said in an email.
Grady Hospital is not named in the suit.
The lawsuit, which also names three unknown individuals who may have installed, repaired or had some effect on the conveyor in question, says Davis-Thomas “suffered severe emotional distress” from the fall and subsequently being trapped in the elevator.
It alleges that Otis, “through its repeated failures to maintain, inspect, and repair the elevator when they had knowledge that said elevator was malfunctioning,” showed “willful” misconduct and malice, which “constitutes a conscious indifference to the consequences.”
Davis-Thomas is seeking compensation for her injuries, pain, suffering, loss of wages and medical expenses.