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Residential Hydraulic Elevator Recall Issued After Catastrophic Brain Injury

Following a traumatic brain injury suffered by a 10 year old Baltimore boy, several hundred residential hydraulic elevators are being recalled due to a risk that they may begin moving while the gate door is open. 

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a Coastal Carolina Elevators recall on March 19, following at least three reports of problems where the elevators were operated while the gate doors remained open, including one case where a child became pinned between the elevator and the third story of a home.

The recall impacts an estimated 240 Elmira Hydraulic residential hydraulic elevators installed in homes with multiple floors. The CPSC indicates that homeowners should immediately stop using these elevators, due to a risk of entrapment or crushing injuries.

The elevators have a manual, accordion-style gate door, with vinyl laminate inserts and a control panel, with up and down buttons, light switch, telephone, emergency stop and power failure light buttons. The elevators have the model name “Cambridge Elevating” printed on the push button panel.

The recalled elevators were sold to residential contractors and home builders, including DRHorton, in South Carolina from January 2006 through December 2009 for between $16,000 and $25,000.

At least one personal injury lawsuit has already been filed over the in-home elevators, with the parents of 10 year old Baltimore boy Jordan Nelson filing a complaint (PDF) on April 2, 2014 in the Circuit Court of Horry County, State of South Carolina, naming Cambridge Elevating Inc., and several other defendants. The lawsuit accuses the defendants of designing, manufacturing and marketing a defective elevator, and failure to adequately test and provide safety instructions for all foreseeable users.

The Nelson family rented a home located in Murrells Inlet of South Carolina for Thanksgiving break, from November 23 through November 30, 2013. During their stay, Jordan entered the elevator on the second floor to ride it to the third floor.

The parents allege that design defects allowed the elevator to operate before the safety gates were closed, allowing Jordan to become pinned between the elevator floor and the third story floor and depriving his heart and brain of oxygen for an extended period of time. As a result, the child suffered catastrophic brain damage and will be left with lifelong permanent injuries from this incident, including continual medical expenses and profound brain damage that will significantly impair his ability to gain future wages.

The CPSC is advising residents to stop using the recalled hydraulic elevators and to contact Coastal Carolina Elevators immediately at 843-399-6545 or visit them online at www.coastalcarolinaelevators and click on the Recall tab at the top of the page for instructions on how to obtain a free repair.

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