An acrophobic delivery man allegedly trapped in a faulty Fox Tower elevator is suing the building manager and the elevator company for $81,000.
According to a lawsuit filed Thursday in Multnomah County Circuit Court, 40-year-old Anthony Beaird of Troutdale took a defective elevator in Fox Tower on Sept. 30, 2009.
The elevator "operated erratically and failed to stop where it was directed, traveled upward and stopped, jerked, shook, dropped and stopped, and then jerked, shook, dropped and stopped again, then started shaking violently and dropped, slowing down and shuttering [sic] while coming to a stop," the lawsuit says.
The incident made the local TV news, with Fox 12 reporting
Beaird was making a delivery in the building and was dropped eight floors "at near free-fall speed."
The suit says Beaird "has a fear of heights and was terrified and afraid the elevator was just going to go down again without stopping."
But the worst was yet to come.
According to the lawsuit, when Beaird pushed the panic and call buttons in the elevator, staff at Portland's Centric Elevator Corp. told him he had two options. He could wait 3-4 hours for a replacement part from Tualatin, or he could exit via the escape hatch.
Beaird, "fearful that the elevator was going to fall again, and wanting to get out of the elevator as soon as possible, agreed to come out through the escape hatch," the lawsuit says.
According to the lawsuit, Beaird wasn't told that he'd have to perform "risky and dangerous maneuvers at great heights" to reach safety. He suffered scrapes and bruises while maneuvering across obstacles with no safety equipment, finally reaching a second elevator, the lawsuit says.
Meanwhile, employees at Portland's TMT Development Co., which manages Fox Tower, laughed at Beaird's obvious distress, the lawsuit says. One woman who works for TMT called Beaird a "baby," according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit, filed by Portland lawyer Greg Kafoury, names both Centric Elevator and TMT Development as defendants. The suit seeks $51,000 for negligence plus $30,000 for intentionally inflicting emotional distress.
Kathy Ledoux, an office assistant at Centric Elevator, said staff there would have no comment. TMT Development has not yet returned a phone call seeking comment.
Meanwhile, here's the opening scene from Alfred Hitchcock's classic 1958 film Vertigo
, starring Jimmy Stewart.