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NYC Elevator Accident Witness to Sue for Trauma

A witness to last month's gruesome New York City elevator accident is planning to sue for trauma.

Kathleen Mullahy, 36, of Queens, was inside an elevator in a midtown Manhattan office building Dec. 14 when the elevator malfunctioned. Coworker Suzanne Hart, 41, had just stepped into the elevator when it unexpectedly shot up, crushing Hart between floors and killing her, the New York Daily News reports.

Mullahy witnessed the bloody accident, and was trapped inside the elevator with Hart's body parts "for an extended period of time," Mullahy's sworn affidavit states, according to the Daily News.

As a result, Mullahy has been so traumatized she can no longer use elevators "out of fear of bodily injury and/or death," she writes the affidavit.

The affidavit is a prelude to an NYC elevator accident lawsuit, the Daily News reports. Mullahy's attorney tells the Daily News his client's suit will target Transel Elevators, an elevator-repair company whose workers had repaired the elevator that morning.

It's not clear what Mullahy's lawsuit will specifically allege, but her affidavit suggests the suit could be based on emotional distress. To win damages for emotional distress, Mullahy will have to prove the elevator-repair company's conduct caused the accident that killed Hart, which caused Mullahy to experience severe emotional distress.

That's probably why Mullahy's attorney has asked a judge to "preserve" the scene of the NYC elevator accident until his legal team can inspect it. The elevator still has not been used since the accident, though other elevators in the building reopened today, the Daily News reports.

Mullahy's potential lawsuit may not be the last. An unidentified man was also trapped in the elevator with Mullahy for more than an hour while rescuers responded to the NYC elevator accident, though it's not clear if that man was traumatized in the same way as Mullahy.

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