Mark DiBona, a four-year-old boy, was killed in an escalator accident that happened in a Sears store, in the Auburn Mall. The companies involved in the installation and operation of the escalator failed to follow state rules and their own construction plans in 2009. In March of this year, the little boy was stepping onto the escalator in the Sears store when the momentum of the escalator handrail pulled him into a 6 1/4-inch gap between the escalator and a plexiglass barrier. He fell one story below and suffered severe head injuries. He died from his injuries the next day. The child’s parents, Eric and Laura DiBona, have filed suit over the death.
Defendants in the suit are the Simon Property Group, Inc., Mayflower Auburn LP, Mall At Auburn LLC, Sears Roebuck and Co., Botany Bay Construction Co. Inc. and the Schindler Elevator Corp. It’s alleged that the Defendants’ negligence contributed to the child’s death. According to the lawsuit, when new escalators were installed in the mall in 2009, the town of Auburn, Mass., approved a building permit that called for the installation of barriers to close the small gap that the boy went through and fell. The parents were with their son at the time of the fatal accident.
The lawsuit alleges that, when Botany Bay, as general contractor, oversaw the installation of the Schindler-built escalators, no one installed the barriers. This was a problem that should have been fixed sometime during the past two years by Sears and the mall operators. The blueprints are said to have called for a barrier. The death of the boy prompted the Governor’s office to review escalator inspections statewide. This led to disciplinary action against two thirds of the escalator inspectors because they had approved escalators for public use with safety violations similar to those that led to the death in this case. W. Thomas Smith and Stacey Pietrowicz, lawyers with the Sugarman Law Firm in Boston, represent the family in the lawsuit.
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