Parents file lawsuit after young girl's arm gets stuck in elevator door in New Jersey | VIDEO

ByPedro Rivera WLS logo
Friday, May 3, 2024
Parents file lawsuit after young girl's arm gets stuck in elevator door in New Jersey | VIDEO
The parents of a young girl who got her arm stuck in an elevator door in Hoboken, New Jersey are filing a lawsuit.

HOBOKEN, New Jersey -- The parents of a young girl who got her arm stuck in an elevator door in New Jersey have a warning for other families as they take legal action.

The family says 5-year-old Zoe Garatziotis simply had her hand on the door when her entire arm got sucked into the space between the door and the elevator wall.

There were some frantic and heart-stopping moments before her arm was freed three minutes later, leaving Zoe in need of several stitches.

It happened back in July when Loni Garatziotis and her three children made a trip from their home in Florida back to their old stomping grounds in Hoboken, New Jersey.

The group of parents took their five kids to 1450 Washington at Hudson Tea, an apartment building nearby, for an afternoon swim.

When they reached the seventh floor, the elevator door opened, but Zoe's arm slipped and got trapped between the elevator door.

"Me and my friend Jen grabbed the elevator so it wouldn't pull her in more and my friend Nicole was in there with her trying to figure out how to get her arm out," Loni said.

For over three minutes, the 5-year-old was stuck while her mom pulled at the door. A friend grabbed hand sanitizer out of her purse and started spreading it on Zoe's arm but it didn't work.

A neighbor then handed them a bottle of lotion.

"She put it on her arm and then she opened it and she pulled her arm free luckily," Loni said.

Police and EMTs eventually got there to take Zoe to the hospital where she received 20 stiches on her wrist.

When the family returned to Florida, once a week for three months they made hospital visits to care for the wound. And nine months later, Zoe is left with a large scar.

"It's pretty rugged, it's pretty big and it's something that we deal with on a daily basis," Loni said. "She wants to cover it, it doesn't feel good, it's sensitive."

The family has since filed a lawsuit against the building's owner, Taylor Management Company, and Kone Elevators and Escalators for negligence.

"If you look at where the door goes in, it's a really small gap, it can fit a couple pieces of paper, that's how it should have been, the gap was too big," said attorney Edward Capozzi.

Capozzi said the family is looking for compensation but they are hoping more companies, including the elevator operator, add warning signage to the elevator to prevent what happened to Zoe from happening to anyone else.

It has become a teachable moment for the family and for Zoe who knows her mom always has her back.

The operator of the elevator released the following statement:

KONE does not comment on pending litigation, but we are aware of an incident... We regretted hearing about the incident when we received a lawsuit, and our thoughts go out to the injured individual. Safety is an integral part of who we are and what we do at KONE. We remain steadfast in our commitment to moving people safely every day.

Eyewitness News has reached out to the building's owner and management company and we have not heard back.

As for Zoe, she is now 6 and her family says they are having more conversations with her to feel more confident about her scar.