Otis Elevator Co. was sued Monday by the parents of a 38-year-old man who was found dead in 2015 after he was electrocuted while working in a downtown high-rise, alleging the defendants violated their own policy by allowing a third-party contractor to work alone.

The dead man, identified by Los Angeles County coroner’s officials as Robert Khodadadian, was found in the elevator machine room of the Wells Fargo Center at 333 S. Grand Ave. on Aug. 15, 2015, the coroner’s office said at the time.

The plaintiffs in the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit are Robert Khodadadian’s father and mother, Rooben and Juliet Khodadadian. The suit alleges wrongful death, negligence and premises liability and seeks unspecified damages.

An Otis Elevator representative could not be immediately reached.

Robert and Rooben Khodadadian owned an elevator-repair business called R.J. Electric, the suit states. The company had done previous work with Otis, which had a policy of having one of its employees present when a third-party like R.J. Electric did repair work on an Otis elevator, the suit states.

R.J. Electric agreed to refurbish an Otis elevator in the Wells Fargo Center, according to the lawsuit. The agreement called for the company to do cleaning work on Aug. 14, 2015, and varnish spraying the next day, the suit states.

Two Otis employees arrived about 8:45 a.m. to oversee Robert Khodadadian apply varnish to the Otis elevator, but left about 20 minutes later after complaining about the shellac’s odor, according to the lawsuit.

An engineer found Robert Khodadadian on his knees and unresponsive less than an hour later and he was pronounced dead at 10:25 a.m., the suit states.

–City News Service

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