An elevator at the Frederick Douglass Houses owned by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) (Projects) briefly trapped a senior administrator with the Housing and Urban Development (HUD). A recent news report in TheRealDeal.com describes the incident at the Manhattan building as the result of the emergency stop button in the elevator being accidentally depressed.
Lynne Patton, the top regional HUD official, along with a news crew was reportedly stuck in the elevator for 15 minutes before being rescued by the New York Fire Department. According to the news article, the elevator involved was new but had been overloaded with nine occupants.
Issues with NYCHA Elevators
Shortly after the incident, the NYCHA stated that there “was no mechanical failure” in the elevator and that the “alarm switch was accidentally hit in the crowded elevator, causing it to stop working for a short period.” Patton was staying for the week at the Upper West Side project having spent the previous week at the Patterson Houses in The Bronx.
This is part of Patton’s month-long stay at a city public housing development in an effort to highlight the growing list of complaints and problems that NYCHA’s facing. Based on the article, Patton said after being stuck in the elevator – “It’s something that’s not unfamiliar with NYCHA” and that “employees have been stuck in NYCHA elevators many many times.” However, she did not blame the NYCHA here and attributed the incident to the elevator being overloaded.
Problems at the Frederick Douglass Houses
The Frederick Douglass Houses are a public housing project that are owned and operated by the NYCHA. The houses, named for civil rights pioneer Frederick Douglass, are located between 100th Street and 104th Street to the east of Amsterdam Avenue and west of Manhattan Avenue in the Upper West Side. In addition to poor building maintenance, there have been several lawsuits filed by individuals who used to live or currently live at the Frederick Douglass Houses.
The lawsuits allege that the victims suffered due to the poor living conditions as well as lead poisoning from peeling lead-based paint in the buildings. There have also been a number of reports of mold, broken heaters and plumbing at these and other NYCHA buildings. Lawsuits have alleged that the NYCHA has not responded adequately to repeated complaints by tenants about broken or damaged facilities as well as rodent and insect infestations. Earlier this month, an 8-year-old girl residing at the Queensbridge Houses in Queens suffered burn injuries when a pipe in the apartment spewed scalding steam on her hand. The girl was hospitalized after she slipped and fell on water that coated the floor.
Tenant leaders at Frederick Douglass Houses and at other buildings have been repeatedly frustrated by what they call a mismanagement of funds by the NYCHA, news reports state. They allege that budget funds that were allocated for property improvements were untouched, but somehow went missing in subsequent years. Tenant leaders have asked that city officials investigate where the money went.
Property Owners’ Responsibilities
Whether it’s a NYCHA-operated building (The Projects) or a private property, it is important to remember that property owners and/or managers must ensure that the building is inspected, repaired and maintained at all times. This includes elevators, plumbing, electrical wiring, appliances, etc. Worn or broken parts must be repaired or replaced right away. Property owners and managing agents have a duty to keep their property safe for all tenants, visitors and guests.
Victims who suffer injuries due to dangerous conditions on a NYCHA property (or elsewhere) can file what is known as a premises liability claim against the property owner and/or manager. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages including, but not limited to, medical expenses, lost income and benefits, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitation, surgery, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc. Families of deceased victims can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation as well.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries as a result of dangerous conditions in a NYCHA building, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury and medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
Other TOLL FREE phone numbers for us are:
1-800-RADIO-LAW, 1-888-WYPADEK, OR 1-800-LAS-LEYES
Please visit us at: www.WORK4YOULAW.com
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