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Rough elevator ride leads to lawsuit against strata, Langley City

Elevator was a hazard that injured nine-member family, suit claims
B.C. Court of Appeal in Vancouver. (Black Press Media files)

An elevator that allegedly plunged and jerked to a stop, injuring a family of nine, is the subject of a lawsuit against Langley City, a local condo complex, and a maintenance company.

The incident, according to a July 29 notice of claim filed with the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver, took place on Aug. 2, 2020, when four generations of a family went to visit a new condo unit purchased by one of the family members.

The nine-member family included great-grandparents visiting from Ukraine, their daughter and her husband, two of the grandparents’ adult children and a daughter-in-law, and the daughter-in-law’s two children.

After visiting the new condo, the family got into an elevator on the Eastleigh Crescent property, and the statement of claim says they “did not exceed the occupancy or weight limit for the elevator.”

The elevator, they say, “suddenly dived downwards and hard stopped between floors with the plaintiffs as occupants inside.”

They say the drop and sudden stop injured the family members, and that they were then trapped “for a lengthy period” inside the hot elevator, without water, terrified it would fall further.

The court filing alleges that the family used the emergency intercom system to call for help, as their cellphones had no reception inside the elevator.

“The agents refused to call 9-1-1 for the plaintiffs,” the statement of claim says. “No emergency responders ever arrived at the property for this incident.”

Eventually, a person arrived to help them out, but didn’t have keys to the elevator, and was equipped only with a screwdriver. The family had to climb out of the elevator between floors, which they said caused further injuries.

The family claims that several members suffered significant injuries in the elevator fall, with various members suffering neck, shoulder, and back injuries, foot and leg injuries, a ruptured Achilles tendon requiring surgery, bruises, headaches, difficulty sleeping, psychological injuries, and depression.

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Some family members have had their ability to work impacted by the injuries, they allege.

They are suing development companies involved in building the condos, Langley City, the building’s strata organization, the strata management company, and an elevator maintenance firm.

“All the defendants knew or ought to have known that the subject elevator at the property was dangerous… and constituted a hazard to the safety of the plaintiffs and others,” the statement of claim says.

They are seeking damages for, among other things, past and future lost wages, diminished earning capacity, the cost of medical care and rehab treatments, and damages for the loss of ability to perform household and domestic tasks.

There are no posted responses to the lawsuit from the defendants as of Friday, Aug. 12 on the Court Services Online system.

None of the allegations in the statement of claim have been proven in court.

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Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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