Louisiana family suffered broken bones in Orange Line escalator malfunction, files lawsuit

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Louisiana couple and their two children suffered multiple lower and upper limb fractures and “extensive” lacerations to the face, scalp and head when an escalator at the Back Bay MBTA station malfunctioned on Sunday evening , according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in Suffolk Superior Court.

Karson and Holly Bethay and their two children were injured so badly that they had to be hospitalized at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and face the prospect of extensive rehabilitation and financial impact associated with their recovery, according to the court records.

The family are suing MBTA and the contractor hired to maintain the escalators, Kone Inc., and demand that a judge order T and Kone to preserve the escalator and equipment related to the malfunction so that their expert can examine the materials, according to court documents.

Joe Pesaturo, a spokesperson for MBTA, said Thursday evening that the cause of the malfunction remains under investigation. He declined to comment further.

Pesaturo has previously said the escalator will remain out of service until investigators determine the cause of the malfunction and the escalator receives the necessary repairs and approval from oversight regulators.

In an affidavit filed in support of the lawsuit, family attorneys Robert W. Norton and Roger J. Donahue Jr. wrote that the Bethays had come to Boston from their home in Metairie, Louisiana, to watch the game. Sunday between the New England Patriots and the New Orleans Saints at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.

After returning to Boston by train, the family climbed on the escalator just before it malfunctioned, “quickly pulling back any steps or steps on the escalator” and causing the Bethays to slip and fall. “And many other passengers. down the escalator, ”according to the affidavit.

Both parents and two children suffered “multiple injuries… including multiple fractures of the upper and lower limbs; extensive lacerations to the face, scalp, head and body and other injuries ”, and they were admitted to Mass. General, Norton and Donahue wrote. Their injuries will also require additional treatment, according to the document.

The lawsuit alleges that the MBTA and Kone were “negligent and negligent in the inspection, testing, servicing, safety, maintenance and repair of the escalator.”

The injuries to the family have caused “great bodily pain and mental anguish” and will leave scars and loss of function, according to the lawsuit, and have caused the family “substantial medical expenses”, loss of wages and loss of function. reduced earning capacity.

The Bethays are seeking reimbursement of their damages, along with interest and legal costs, according to the documents.

They are also asking for a restraining order to block the repair of the escalator before their expert can examine it, or the scrapping of any of its parts that contributed to the malfunction, any surveillance video or anything else. recording, document shows.

Witnesses described a terrifying scene after the ascending escalator from the Amtrak and from the commuter train platform to the station concourse suddenly reversed at high speed shortly after 6 p.m., causing people to tumble back and forth.

The escalator malfunction came two weeks after Boston University professor David Jones fell to death on a rusted and closed staircase near JFK / UMass T station in Dorchester.

Two days later, a slow MBTA train car derailed at Broadway station in South Boston and struck the platform. The impact left the metro car with cracked glass and deep scuffs on the side; MBTA officials said no one was injured.

A coalition of transit advocates met at State House on Thursday and called on state officials to improve security and funding for the MBTA in the wake of the incidents.

“We should all be able to use public infrastructure and do our jobs without facing the dangers that too many people have experienced in recent weeks,” said Collique Williams, organizer of Community Labor United. “These disasters are not accidents. These are symptoms of the system that has been underfunded for too long. “

Le T said in a statement Thursday afternoon that the agency remains committed to security.

“The top priority of the MBTA is to ensure the safety and reliability of the system and it continues to invest billions of dollars in major infrastructure projects and the purchase of new vehicles,” said T.


Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on twitter @jeremycfox. John R. Ellement can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on twitter @JREbosglobe.



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