Jury Awards $13 Million to Woman Left Inside Malfunctioning Elevator By Mechanic

by John Chapman

Thirteen years ago, Janis Beasley got on an elevator at work, on the 23rd floor of her office building. The elevator malfunctioned and experienced a series of falls down to the 8th floor. At that point, the building’s on-site elevator maintenance firm, Schindler Elevator Corp., was aware of the problem and had a mechanic on the scene. However, rather than taking Mrs. Beasley off the elevator, the mechanic sent her and the elevator on to the basement. That caused another series of falls in the elevator.

Mrs. Beasely sued the elevator maintenance firm. At trial, Beasely conceded that the Schindler Elevator Corporation was not responsible for injuries she may have sustained between floors 23 and floor 8–because the company did not cause the original malfunction. However, instead of “saving” her, the mechanic sent her down to the basement in a second series of falls, causing her to suffer both further physical as well as psychological injuries. Mrs. Beasley suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic depression, partial paralysis of her left leg, pseudo seizures and was wheelchair-bound for several years.

A jury in Duval County, Florida has now returned a verdict in her favor of $13,188,000.00 against Schindler Elevator Company and Highwoods Properties, Inc., following a 2-week trial in Jacksonville.

Lawyers at HO&P Ready for Trial

The elevator maintenance company fought Mrs. Beaseley’s claim for thirteen years before it reached a jury. Although that is certainly longer than usual, her story reminds all of us that pursuing a claim for just compensation is often difficult, time-consuming and expensive.

To successfully bring a claim regarding a catastrophic injury or wrongful death, clients need an experienced, educated attorney on their side. They also need an attorney with the financial resources to take the case to trial. At Heygood, Orr & Pearson, we have tried hundreds of cases to verdict and have settled hundreds more.

Our firm is AV-rated, the highest legal and ethical rating available from the leading law firm rating service. Our partners Michael Heygood, Jim Orr, and Eric Pearson are all Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Mr. Heygood and Mr. Orr are additionally Board Certified in Civil Trial Advocacy Law by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Our partners been voted by their peers as “Super Lawyers” in the state of Texas for several years in a row.*

If you have suffered a serious economic or personal injury or a loved one has suffered a serious injury or death as the result of the actions of a defective product or company, you may have a claim for compensation. Contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson for your free case evaluation and to learn more about your legal right to compensation. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by filling out the free legal consultation form on this page.


Michael Heygood, James Craig Orr, Jr. and Eric Pearson were selected to the Super Lawyers List, a Thomson Reuters publication, for the years 2003 through 2013.

by John Chapman

John Chapman is a licensed attorney with experience in complex commercial litigation (including securities fraud, RICO, shareholder oppression, and derivative actions) and personal injury litigation.