Family of elevator repairman killed on job awarded $2.15M in settlement

Family of elevator repairman killed on job awarded $2.15M in settlement

Today 12:59 PM

Galaxy housing complex
The Galaxy housing complex in Guttenberg.

By Steven Rodas | The Jersey Journal

GUTTENBERG – Almost four years after a repairman was killed while performing maintenance on an elevator in a luxury residential complex in Guttenberg, a lawsuit claiming he died due to faulty machinery has been settled, according to court documents.

Quality Elevator Products – the Niles, Illinois-based company that manufactured the “runbox” of the elevator Selwyn Camper was killed in on Feb 2, 2016 – settled for $2.15 million on Dec. 2, according to the NJ Law Journal.

Camper, 44, was working on an elevator car at the Galaxy Towers at 7002 Blvd East as part of an annual inspection when the incident took place.

The New Windsor, N.Y-native worked his way down from the top of the elevator car, inspecting door locks at every level – with the help of a “run box” which allows mechanics to control and operate the elevator as they work. While working on one floor the elevator began moving, which resulted in Camper becoming stuck between the seventh and eighth floors.

The court documents said Camper sustained “conscious pain and suffering” as authorities worked to respond to the scene. The Guttenberg Police Department and North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue were dispatched to the Galaxy Towers at approximately 7:30 a.m.

Although he was freed, Camper died shortly after 8 a.m. due to his injuries, authorities said.

Camper’s estate filed a lawsuit against Quality Elevator Products on several counts – including negligence, product liability, and wrongful death. Although claims against the elevator car’s manufacturer and Camper’s employer were initially filed, they were later withdrawn. Quality Elevator was named the defendant in the case when both parties settled during mediation with retired Superior Court judge Mark Epstein, as part of New Brunswick-based Hoagland, Longo, Moran, Dunst & Doukas law firm.

The plaintiffs claimed that the run box, which can be toggled between maintenance mode and normal operation mode, was missing a critical guard or safety feature to prevent inadvertent activation. Per the suit, Camper inadvertently adjusted the switch from maintenance mode to normal mode, which resulted in the car to respond to an elevator call from above, and to begin its fatal movement.

A federal investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined that there was no record of a power surge with PSE&G that might have caused the car to begin moving, the plaintiff’s counsel Corey Dietz of Brach Eichler in Roseland said. The plaintiff was also represented by Edward Capozzi.

Quality Elevator Products, which was represented by Christopher Mavros of Zarwin Baum DeVito Kaplan Schaer Toddy in Philadelphia, denied fault in Camper’s death, according to court documents.

According to Dietz, the defense resolved that Camper was negligent in how he operated the elevator car, including by failing to activate safety features from the elevator control room before beginning work atop the elevator car.

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