Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Escalator Injury Prompts Paramus to File Suit

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Escalator Injury Prompts Paramus to File Suit

Article excerpt

PARAMUS -- The borough is suing a private inspection company, saying it should have shut down an escalator at Macy's in the Westfield Garden State Plaza before a 10-year-old Bergenfield girl lost two toes in an accident there over the summer.

The girl, whose family is suing Macy's, was injured going up the No. 2 escalator at the store on Aug. 16 -- more than two weeks after state records show that a temporary certificate allowing the escalator to operate, despite needing maintenance, expired on July 31.

The borough also will ask a Superior Court judge at a hearing scheduled for today to issue a restraining order to stop the company, the Municipal Inspection Corp., from performing inspections on behalf of the borough. It said in court papers that the company has been conducting inspections despite the fact that it stopped working for the borough on Sept. 1. The Borough Council selected another company last year to conduct elevator and escalator inspections after that date.

The Municipal Inspection Corp. responded in court papers by saying that state regulations require it to inspect sites where it previously found outstanding issues.

Paramus officials said in papers filed Nov. 7 in Superior Court in Hackensack that MIC, which is based in Bayonne, violated the terms of its contract with the borough by failing to report that a Macy's manager blocked an escalator inspection from being completed on March 6.

"Apparently, Macy's would not allow the inspection to proceed, but MIC did not inform Paramus of this," they said in the lawsuit.

An attorney for the company, Christos Diktas, said Monday that the company had no obligation to inform Paramus the inspection was interrupted. "The building department did not micromanage reviews and inspections," he said.

On Aug. 16, Juliana Valdez's right foot was caught in the escalator's top grate, and she suffered the loss of two toes. …

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