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New Jersey Jail Guard Settles Elevator Fall Suit for $750,000

On December 15, 2003, Global Elevator Technologies (GET), a company under contract with the Union County (New Jersey) Jail to provide elevator maintenance services, agreed to pay $750,000 to a guard who suffered back and knee injuries in a December 2000 elevator accident.

The plaintiff, Union County Jail guard Sporer, 30, claimed that after entering the elevator on an upper floor and descending several stories, the elevator car began a free fall at the eighth floor and came to an abrupt stop between the second and third floors.

Sporer contended that he suffered a severe lumbar herniation which later required a discectomy and fusion. The surgery was largely unsuccessful, alleged Sporer, and the recuperation period was long and extremely painful. Sporer also claimed that he continues to suffer severe pain and weakness.

In addition, Sporer allegedly suffered an internal derangement of the left knee that necessitated two arthroscopic surgeries. Although the second arthroscopic surgery was largely successful, Sporer claimed that he will continue to suffer pain and difficulties walking. Sporer's claims were supported by orthopedist Gregory Charko of Woodbridge.

Sporer sued GET alleging that the company had not inspected and maintained the elevator as per the terms of its contract, and that the company's negligent failure to perform the required maintenance precipitated the free fall. Sporer's elevator expert, engineer Eugene Stifler of Sparta, asserted that the incident would not have occurred if the elevator had been properly inspected and maintained.

Sporer claimed that as a result of the injuries he would likely be unable to return to work and was, as a practical matter, permanently unemployable. Sporer further claimed that due to extensive overtime work he had been earning approximately $80,000 per year as a jail guard.

The case settled prior to trial for $750,000. Sporer was represented by Michael Forester of the Clark law firm Perrotta, Frase, Forrester & Panitch. See: Sporer v. Global Elevator Technologies , Union County Superior, case number unknown.

Source: New Jersey Verdict Review & Analysis

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Related legal case

Sporer v. Global Elevator Technologies