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Tourist hurt on Metro escalator in 2012 sues for $20M

A Canadian tourist whose foot and hand were seriously injured after getting stuck in an escalator at the Smithsonian Metro when he was 14 years old is suing Metro for $20 million.

Teman Chow was visiting D.C. from Calgary with his family July 17, 2012, when one of his flip-flops got stuck at the bottom of the escalator. When he reached down to free himself, his hand was also caught in the bottom comb plate that the escalator steps slide under, which “impaled Plaintiff’s hand, as if caught inside a meat-grinder,” the suit claims.

At the time, Metro said the escalator was immediately shut down. The lawsuit filed by Chow’s family claims the escalator was not shut down quickly enough, and did not shut down automatically, but was only stopped by a station manager hitting the emergency stop button.

The suit was filed in federal court in the District last week, just ahead of Chow’s 21st birthday.

The filing includes X-Rays of Chow’s hand from the evening of the incident showing the teeth from the comb plate still stuck inside.

D.C. Fire and EMS worked for more than 30 minutes to free Chow from the escalator, and ended up removing the comb plate from the escalator and taking Chow to the hospital to have it removed.

According to the suit, Chow has never been able to fully recover and faces a “permanent disfigurement and disability to his left hand.”

The suit charges that Metro, at the time, had failed to properly maintain and inspect its escalators, including the escalator at the north entrance to the Smithsonian station where Chow was injured.

In the years since, Metro has replaced a significant number of escalators across the system.

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