OC Escalator Lawsuit Closed Two Years After Settlement

OCEAN CITY — Nearly three years after a Vermont high school student filed suit against the town of Ocean City and a private manufacturer after suffering serious injuries when an escalator collapsed in the Roland E. Powell Convention Center in 2006, the books were finally closed this week with an undisclosed amount of damages paid to the victim.

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 last June, 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.

Town attorneys later filed a motion to dismiss the Mayor and Council as defendants in the case evoking often-used governmental immunity as one of the primary reasons for seeking the dismissal. In September 2009, U.S. District Court Judge William Quarles agreed and dismissed the Ocean City Mayor and Council as defendants in the case.

However, the suit moved forward against ThyssenKrupp and Montgomery Kone, the private company that manufactured the faulty escalator, was added as a defendant. In February 2010, the suit against the private manufacturer was informally settled, the terms of which were not reported.

“There has been a mutual resolution,” said ThyssenKrupp attorney Terrence O’Connell at the time of the settlement. “A modest sum of money will be paid to the plaintiff by more than one party to make this whole thing go away. I really can’t say anything more about it.”

However, the case remained open for nearly two more years before being officially closed for good this week.

“The Clerk of the Court will please enter the above-captioned case as settled and dismissed with prejudice as to all claims and all parties,” the stipulation of dismissal filed this week reads.