The family of a woman who drowned in a basement elevator at the Omni Hotel in Houston, Texas during Hurricane Harvey has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the hotel and Otis Elevator. The lawsuit, filed by the estate of Ella Jill Renick, alleges that the hotel and the elevator company failed to take measures and institute a safety system that would have prevented the woman’s drowning death.
According to the lawsuit, Renick was working as an employee of the Omni Houston at the time that Hurricane Harvey struck this city. On the night of the storm, she was called downstairs to the hotel’s lobby. When the service elevator she was using ended up in the basement, flooding caused by the storm caused the elevator’s electrical components to fail, trapping her in the basement as flood waters continued rising.
Renick used the service telephone in the elevator to call for help, but no one from the hotel came to rescue her. Surveillance video from the hotels basement shows Renick desperately trying to escape from the elevator as it flooded with water. Eventually, flood waters in the basement rose to the top of the elevator where Renick was trapped, causing her to drown.
According to the lawsuit filed by Renick’s estate, the Omni Houston has a long history of flooding. The hotel itself is located within the flood plain of the Buffalo Bayou, and most of its parking garage is in the floodway of the bayou.
The Houston building code was updated in 2010 to require elevators that service areas below the flood plain to install water sensors to prevent them from descending into flood waters. However, the lawsuit alleges that the Omni Houston failed to install flood sensors on their elevators, including the one in which Renick drowned. The lawsuit also alleges that Otis Elevator – which had a contract to service elevators in the Omni Houston – also failed to bring the elevators into compliance with Houston building codes.
The lawsuit filed by the estate against the Omni Houston and Otis Elevators is seeking monetary damages for Renick’s physical and emotional pain and suffering. The lawsuit also seeks damage on behalf of Renick’s mother for loss of companionship, mental anguish, lost earnings, and loss of inheritance.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits Filed by Heygood, Orr & Pearson
If a member of your family or another loved one has been the victim of wrongful death due to the negligence of others, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit in order to hold those responsible accountable. The first step in taking legal action is to talk with an attorney with experience in personal injury and wrongful death cases to advise you of your legal rights and guide you through the process of filing a case.
The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have tried hundreds of cases to verdict on behalf of our clients and have settled hundreds more. Our lawyers have achieved verdicts and settlements totaling more than $200 million on behalf of our clients. Unlike many law firms that settle cases to avoid taking them to trial, our firm has tried numerous personal injury cases to a jury verdict.
The attorneys at Heygood, Orr & Pearson are dedicated to the belief that all should have the right to experienced and qualified legal counsel to ensure that their interests are represented. At Heygood, Orr & Pearson, we are committed to achieving justice on behalf of our clients, whatever the cost.
For more information about filing a wrongful death lawsuit, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson to receive your free legal consultation. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by following the link to our free case evaluation form and answering a few brief questions about your case to get started.