West Palm Beach, FL— Jurors previewed evidence concerning the elevator ceiling panel collapse at a mall parking garage that a Florida man says left him with a traumatic brain injury, as trial opened Tuesday morning against the mall’s owner. Rayment v. Mizner Park Venture, LLC, 2017-CA-007543.
Daniel Rayment was struck by a 15-pound ceiling panel while inside a parking garage elevator at Boca Raton’s Mizner Park shopping mall in April 2017. Rayment’s attorney, Shaked Law’s Sagi Shaked, told jurors during Tuesday’s openings that the incident left Rayment with a neck injury as well as a traumatic brain injury that causes him to suffer recurring seizures.
Shaked told jurors that evidence would show Mizner Park was responsible for maintenance and safety of the inside of the elevator, including the ceiling panel at issue, and that the property failed to properly maintain the ceiling or otherwise warn the public of an issue with the panel.
“When the commercial property owner opens their property, they have to have systems in place so people don’t get hurt.” Shaked said. “In this case there was a systematic failure.”
But Mizner Park contends it is not responsible for the collapse. During Tuesday’s openings Wilson Elser’s Camille Blanton told jurors that the ceiling panel also served as an emergency exit hatch, secured by four locks located outside the elevator. The hatch and those locks, Blanton said, were the responsibility of Otis Elevator, which is not a party at trial.
“It can’t just fall. In order for it to come down at all… all four of those [locks] have to be disabled, which only Otis or emergency personnel had access to,” Blanton said. “And then someone inside the carriage had to physically manipulate and maneuver the panel down.”
Trial in the case is expected to last through the end of the week.
Email Arlin Crisco at email@example.com.
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