High-rise owner had no obligation to maintain elevator, rebuttal asserts

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | Dec 19, 2013

HOUSTON - Named in an April lawsuit alleging an elevator door closed "abruptly and forcefully" on a Harris County man, the owner of a Houston high-rise recently denied responsibility.

Transwestern filed an original answer Dec. 4 refuting Richard Gamino's personal injury claims, questioning the jurisdiction accorded to Houston federal court.

Gamino, who works in the building known as Four Oaks Place which is owned by Transwestern, initiated legal action after the door of a freight elevator at the facilities manufactured and maintained by Schindler Elevator Corp. malfunctioned and left him with head and neck injuries and in an unconscious state.

“The defective condition of the elevator posed an unreasonably dangerous condition, constituting a product defect and a premises defect, resulting in an unreasonable risk of harm of which the defendants were fully aware,” the suit, which also implicates Schindler, says.

Transwestern's rebuttal contends that the plaintiff's own negligence contributed to the Dec. 15, 2011, incident in question.

It further denies it "had any obligation whatsoever to maintain or service the elevator in question."

Attorney William Book of Tekell, Book, Allen & Morris LLP in Houston is representing Transwestern.

Case No. 4:13-CV-1779

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