While attending a football game at Giants Stadium in December 2007, eight people were seriously injured after an escalator they were riding suddenly malfunctioned. After filing a lawsuit against Schindler, the company in charge of maintaining the escalator, the case was finally brought to trial in January 2012. However, after only one day in the court room, where victims described their injuries in gruesome detail, the escalator company decided to settle the case out of court with the eight victims. The monetary settlement was not disclosed, and Schindler did not admit to any wrong as part of the agreement.
According to the accident victims, the escalator at Giants Stadium suddenly sped up and abruptly stopped, causing many people to fall down the escalator’s stairs. Because of the force of many people falling, some of the steps opened up, which led to further injuries. Michael Harris, one of the victims, said that his right leg was swallowed up by a large gap in the steps. He remarked, “The steps, they couldn’t take all that activity. They basically broke apart and swallowed my leg.” While his leg was trapped in the escalator’s machinery, Harrison had to wait 30 minutes for emergency personnel to free him. Hunched over on his side, Harris’ leg, being severely injured, was finally released after the workers used the jaws of life to take apart the escalator. However, as a result of his injuries, doctors had to amputate his badly mangled leg. Lawyers for the plaintiffs stated that the escalator malfunctioned because its brakes failed. The escalator was also not inspected on a routine basis. Moreover, the lawyers claimed that Giants Stadium didn’t take proper steps to ensure that a safe number of people were riding the escalator.
Joe Capuano also suffered serious injuries as the result of the escalator accident. Capuano’s tibia, foot and ankle were all crushed as a result of the incident. While Capuano welcomed the settlement, he stated that his life is forever changed. He stated, “I can’t run, play sports.”
Even though Schindler reached a settlement with the victims, the jury trial still continued against the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority for one week. However, in the middle of the trial, the organization reached a settlement with the victims outside of court. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed to the public. An attorney for Schindler stated, “What Schindler wants to say is sympathies go out to all the victims and wish them well.
While escalator accidents are relatively rare, they usually result in extremely serious injuries.
In 2012, Giants Stadium was knocked down and replaced with the MetLife Stadium.