Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Man Sues Elevator Company over Mishap in Condo; Says He Hurt Leg in Fall

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Man Sues Elevator Company over Mishap in Condo; Says He Hurt Leg in Fall

Article excerpt

Man sues elevator company over condo mishap


TORONTO - A retiree who says he hurt his leg after tumbling from a malfunctioning elevator in his downtown condominium is suing one of the world's largest elevator companies for negligence.

In his unproven statement of claim before Ontario Superior Court, Kenneth Smookler seeks $25,000 in compensation from Schindler Elevator and his Toronto condo corporation for what he alleges was their failure to maintain the device properly.

Schindler, Smookler's claim asserts, failed to recognize that a mishap was all but inevitable given the deteriorating condition of the elevators, and was grossly negligent in allegedly abandoning proper maintenance in favour of increasing profits and "deliberately bidding lower and lower for elevator repair contracts" to undercut its competitors.

"As a result of these practices, Schindler was required either to reduce the number of its staff available for servicing its existing clients or, alternatively, requiring such staff to service an increasing number of its clients each month."

The alleged incident occurred in July last year when Smookler, 87, was on his way down to the condo's swimming pool carrying items including a towel and flotation device when he says the elevator stopped about 25 centimetres above the floor. Smookler says he didn't notice the elevator wasn't level with the floor and "pitched forward" as he stepped out, landing with his entire weight on his surgically replaced knee.

He developed severe pain in his leg and foot due to infection in the joint, and ongoing complications caused by the alleged incident might mean more surgery, he says.

Smookler accuses Schindler of "callous and outrageous behaviour in putting its pursuit of profits ahead of its duty to prevent the endangerment of the people" who use elevators the company services.

In its statement of defence, Schindler denies any wrongdoing. Instead, it blames Smookler for any injuries he sustained, or the condo corporation for not alerting the company if indeed the elevator was faulty.

The Toronto-based company -- part of a Swiss multinational -- says it fulfilled its servicing-contract obligations by having qualified technicians do regularly scheduled maintenance and inspections. …

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