If you own a business, building or non-profit have you recently checked the safety inspection certificate on your elevator or wheelchair lift to see if it was expired? You’d be surprised how many elevators and lifts’ safety inspection certificates have long since expired.
Maybe we’ve just described your elevator or lift. You may think that the company you hired and paid good money to service your equipment is taking care of this, but often times they do not, despite agreeing to. You are the one left having to deal with Massachusetts Department of Public Safety when they find out about your expired certificate and they send you a bill for a $20,000 fine.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Safety regulates all elevators, moving stairways or walks, wheelchair lifts, automatic people movers and other associated devices. Churches, Synagogues, Temples, and other places of worship, as well as schools, nursing homes, assisted living communities and other organizations all across the Commonwealth have these sorts of elevators or lifts commonly within their facilities. The Massachusetts statutes (M.G.L. c. 143 §§ 62, 64, 65, and 71) and regulations (524 CMR 7, 524 CMR 8, and 520 CMR 16) require that you obtain a permit to own such a piece of equipment, arrange for its inspection, operate that equipment only with a valid inspection certificate, post the certificate properly, not remove notice of an unsafe condition relating to the equipment, or fail to report the unsafe condition in the first place. If you don’t adhere to these rules (and they are strictly enforced) you could end up in violation of state law and responsible for a fine up to $20,000 with no prior warning.
The law firm of Morisi & Oatway not only has experience but a proven track record of successfully defending businesses and non-profits in expired elevator certificate cases. In many cases our attorneys have been able to greatly reduce or even eliminate state fines. Click here for copy of a recent actual case decision.
First, you may appeal the violation and fine by filling out the appropriate paperwork in a timely fashion and supplying the Department of Public Safety’s hearings officer with substantial evidence backing up your claims. This will entitle you to an administrative review to which you will not be privy and the result of which, a decision by the hearings officer, will be mailed to you. Often times the violation and penalty will be affirmed meaning your fine will remain the same. This is not the end of the process and you may request a hearing provided you do so within the allotted time period. At that hearing, you will be able to testify in your own defense, present evidence, and state your case to a hearings officer.
If this sounds a little bit confusing that’s because it is if you haven’t been through it before. Our experienced attorneys are here to help you and your organization through this process. The lawyers at Morisi & Oatway have handled this kind of appeal before and had great success.
If your business or non-profit is facing fines from the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety contact us for a case review we can help!