Parties in elevator crash lawsuit reach 'amicable' settlement

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Sep. 2, 2013, 6:42pm

HOUSTON - The parties in a lawsuit arising from an elevator crash at a Houston skyscraper have reached an "amicable" settlement, recent court records report.

U.S. District Court Judge Lee H. Rosenthal signed an order of dismissal on Aug. 22 disposing Harris County residents Leslie Williams and Victoria Martinez's suit against Chevron U.S.A. Inc.

Williams and Martinez originally initiated legal action against Chevron, which owns the building where the Feb. 7 incident occurred, in Harris County District Court in March before the case was removed to Houston federal court two months later.

The women explained that they caught an elevator to head down to the lobby when the car “malfunctioned and skyrocketed from the 39th floor and crashed into the top of the elevator shaft 11 floors up.”

They add the impact threw them into the ceiling and caused light fixtures and ceiling tiles to fall on them before they ended up on the ground when the car stopped.

The suit furthered showed that Houston firefighters rescued the plaintiffs, alleging a Chevron employee controlling the elevator saw the car moving upward and “purposefully let it go so they could meet the trapped plaintiffs on an upper floor.”

The complainants said their legs, ankles and backs were injured in the crash.

Chevron provided a formal rebuttal on Aug. 13.

Fujitec America Inc. and Houston resident Makesi George later joined Chevron as co-defendants, but were dismissed as well.

Judge Rosenthal's order denies any pending motions and gives any party up to at least 14 days from the "date any motion for reinstatement is filed" to resubmit those motions.

She also set a 60-day window for the entire case to be reinstated "on presentation of adequate proof that the settlement could not be consummated."

Attorney Martha Louise Buttry of King Spalding LLP in Houston represented the respondent.

Case No. 13-CV-1308

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