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Investigation Uncovers 8 Active Cases Against Maintenance Company In Deadly Elevator Mishap

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- An investigation by the Buildings Department has turned up at least eight active cases against the company that serviced the lifts in the midtown building where a woman was killed two weeks ago.

One of lawsuits was brought by 46-year-old John Goldsmith, a Union Square building superintendent, who claims he fell down an elevator shaft after stepping through doors which opened before the cab arrived.

"Goldsmith has been through hell," attorney Johnny Kool told 1010 WINS. "He's totally disabled, can't work and he has several million dollars of future medicals that he'll be responsible for. He was 41-years-old at the time and he should live a normal lifespan."

Suzanne Hart
Suzanne Hart (credit: Facebook)

Kool said his client sustained serious and permanent injuries in the 2007 incident because Transel Elevator Inc. employees left a safety device disabled.

"When you have an elevator that needs a safety device to prevent this type of accident from happening and it's deliberately disabled it's not only gross negligence but it's also a violation of the law," Kool said.

Transel, which operates and maintains 2,500 elevators around the city, said its top priority has always been safety but Kool claims the number of lawsuits against the company are proof that there are safety concerns that need to be addressed.

"Clearly there's a history of doing things the wrong way," Kool said.

Meanwhile, the Y&R building at 285 Madison Avenue remains closed as the Buildings Department continues its investigation into the death of  41-year-old ad executive Suzanne Hart.

Hart was killed on Dec. 14 after the elevator she was trying to get on suddenly jerked upward, crushing her between the elevator and the shaft.

The building will be reopened next Tuesday for employees on floors 12 to 25.

Workers on the first 12 floors will not be allowed back in their offices until the end of next month.

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