A Los Angeles man who took in a Patriots game at Gillette Stadium on Sept. 26, 2021 today sued the MBTA and the Kone escalator company for the injuries he says he suffered when the escalator he was riding up from the train at Back Bay after the game suddenly went into reverse, throwing him to the bottom of the escalator, where he became pinned as other people fell on top of him.
In his negligence lawsuit, filed today in Suffolk Superior Court, Omar Dreidi says he suffered a fractured ankle, a ligament injury and scratches and bruises along his hip, his lower back and both knees and that he continues to suffer pain and need physical therapy to this day due to the failure of the MBTA and Kone to properly maintain the escalator and keep it from suddenly going into reverse.
Dreidi's suit is the third by people injured on the escalator after returning from the Patriots game that day - a family from Louisiana and, separately, two other people from Louisiana have also sued, although the family dropped the T from its suit and is now just suing Kone.
The MBTA, in turn, has filed cross-complaints against Kone for what happened, supposedly just three weeks after Kone inspected the escalator.
Just yesterday, Kone answered the suit brought by Laura Sapp, of Metairie, LA, and Kathleen Lamkin, of Abita Springs, LA, giving 19 different reasons why a judge should dismiss the cases, including that the two waited too long to sue, that nobody told it there was anything wrong with the escalator before it malfunctioned, that some unnamed third party caused whatever problem made the escalator reverse and that the people on the escalator are mainly at fault for whatever happened to them.
In his complaint, Dreidi's attorney describes what happened as Dreidi and a friend neared the top of the escalator up from a commuter-rail platform to the station's main concourse:
Mr. Dreidi was one of those unfortunate individuals on the Escalator who was knocked off balance and hurled downwards the length of the Escalator and ended up in the "pile of bodies" on the cement floor. His left leg was pinned and twisted when he landed hard at the bottom of the Escalator and while several other people fell on top of him. Mr. Dreidi experienced immediate, sharp pain in his left ankle, thigh, hop, lower back and both knees from the incident. After extricating himself from the pile of bodies at the bottom of the Escalator, which was described in a Boston Globe article written the day after the incident, as a "bloody, horrific scene," and assisting [his friend] (who was also seriously injured) out from under the pile of injured persons, they were both taken by ambulance to the Emergency Department at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, MA.
At the hospital, the complaint continues, he was diagnosed with a "high-grade injury to the anterior tibiofibular ligament with fragmentation of the anterior aspect of the distal fibula" in addition to bruises and abrasions along his hip, lower back and both knees.
Since being discharged from Tufts, Mr. Dreidi has continued to suffer and therefor received medical treatment for his pain and debilitating injuries sustained as a result of the incident. ... While Mr. Dreidi has slowly but progressively recovered over time, he continues to experience enduring pain and discomfort in his left ankle and lower back area that has intruded upon and impaired his professonal and personal activities.
In addition to ongoing physical therapy, Dreidi says he now has to regularly see a mental-health professional to deal with the new limitations on his life caused by the injuries, which have also manifested in such things as nightmares, sleeplessness and anxiety.
Dreidi's complaint does not specify specific instances of negligence by the T and Kone related to the escalator. However, the Bethay family, the first to sue, claim that Kone should have known something like this could happen because it had happened to Kone-maintained escalators on the T before, specifically in 1996 and 2011 - and that Kone should have, but didn't, install a second braking mechanism to prevent a sudden reverse.
The 2011 reverse - also at Back Bay station - was similar to the 2021 incident: People were streaming up for a Bruins Stanley Cup parade when the escalator suddenly started going down. At least one boy had his feet sucked into the escalator mechanism; his mother had footprints on her back from where she was trampled.