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Fatal Manhattan Elevator Accident Spurs Claim by Eyewitness

A New York woman who was trapped in an elevator as it crushed another woman to death last month asked a court to order the Manhattan building’s owner and the elevator’s maker to preserve the accident scene.

Kathleen Mullahy today filed papers in state court seeking an injunction directing landlord Young & Rubicam Inc. and Transel Elevator Inc. to leave the lift and its parts “in their post-accident state and condition” for inspection by her lawyers and representatives.

Suzanne Hart, 41, an employee of Y&R, the Manhattan advertising agency, was killed as she boarded the elevator at 285 Madison Avenue on Dec. 14, when its door suddenly closed and it rose before she was fully inside.

Alleging she was injured when the elevator malfunctioned and forced to witness Hart’s death, Mullahy said in today’s filing that she plans to sue those responsible.

“It is critical for petitioner to obtain immediate access to the subject elevator, elevator doors, its component parts, and the elevator motor room at respondents’ premises while still in its post-accident state and condition,” according to Mullahy’s petition.

Tim White, an outside spokesman for New York-based Transel, said he couldn’t immediately comment on the Mullahy filing. The company has previously said it is cooperating fully with a probe of the accident by the city building department.

Jordana Altman, a spokeswoman for Y&R, declined to comment on the injunction request.

The case is Mullahy v. Young & Rubicam, 12-100022, New York State Supreme Court, New York County (Manhattan).

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