Legal Clarification Issued In Escalator Fall Lawsuit

OCEAN CITY – Early legal maneuvering continued this week in the $500,000 civil suit filed in May against the town of Ocean City, its Convention and Visitors Bureau and a private company by a former Vermont high school student injured in an escalator accident on the Roland E. Powell Convention Center in May 2006, with a clarification of just who the defendants are in the case.

In May 2006, several members of a high school band from Vermont, in Ocean City for the annual Youth Music Competition at the Convention Center, were injured when the north elevator to the second floor stopped suddenly and starting running in reverse. Several of the students fell during the accident and a handful were taken to Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin where they were treated for a wide variety of injuries.

Nearly three years to the day of the accident, one of the injured students, Rebecca Beall, of Barre, Vt., filed suit in U.S. District Court, claiming negligence against the town of Ocean City, the Ocean City Convention Center and Visitors Bureau, Inc., and the private ThyssenKrupp Elevator Company, which the town retained to service and maintain the faulty escalator.

This week, the parties agreed to dismiss the case against some of the defendants named in the original complaint, namely the town of Ocean City and the Ocean City Convention and Visitors Bureau, Inc., but the action does not mean those dismissed are off the hook. Essentially, this week’s stipulation of dismissal is a housekeeping measure to more clearly define who the defendants are in the suit.

According to the plaintiff’s attorney, Raymond L. Marshall, the stipulation for dismissal came at the request of the town’s attorney in the interest of clarifying the defendants. In essence, the Ocean City Mayor and Council has replaced the defunct Convention and Visitors Bureau as the primary defendant in the case, while ThyssenKrupp Elevator remains a co-defendant.