Family of New Jersey Girl Injured by Escalator Sues Macy’s
The family of a Bergenfield, New Jersey girl who had her foot mangled in an escalator accident in August has sued Macy’s, alleging that the company failed to properly maintain the aging escalator at its Westfield Garden State Plaza mall store.
The family also sued Thyssen Krupp Elevator, which was responsible for the maintenance of the escalator.
Juliana Valdez, age 10, lost two toes when her leg became trapped in the escalator. Her foot was caught as she neared the top, and she screamed and cried for help as her leg was sucked into the escalator up to mid-calf.
As the metal comb at the top of the escalator continued to grind away, spreading her blood and tissue across eleven steps, Juliana lost a significant amount of blood and suffered kidney failure as a result. A man was finally able to stop the escalator by hitting the emergency switch.
Juliana has had 14 operations so far to repair her foot and has a new ambition: to become an orthopedic surgeon.
Her family is seeking $10 million in damages.
The escalator at issue was installed in 1958 and is among the oldest operating in the state. The Valdez family lawyer said that Macy’s had failed to replace the old escalators even when made aware of a design flaw that could lead to shoes with rubber soles becoming trapped in the steps.
Juliana was wearing high-top sneakers at the time of the accident.
Macy’s and Thyssen settled a similar lawsuit and paid more than half a million dollars to a Wantage girl who lost a toe in a 2009 escalator accident at the Paramus Park mall. It was a later model than the escalator involved in the Westfield accident.
The Consumer Protection Safety Commission reported 11,000 escalator accidents in 2007. The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries reported 244 deaths related to elevators and escalators occurring from 1992 to 2003.173 of these deaths involved work on or near elevators or escalators and 68 of those killed were passengers.