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Malfunctioning lift at City watchdog gave me a back injury, claims ex-employee

·3-min read

The City watchdog is being sued by a former staff member over claims that she suffered a back injury caused by a malfunctioning lift in its East London headquarters.

Emma Dolley, an ex-portfolio manager at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has launched a high court battle against the regulator seeking £100,000 in damages.

She alleges that a lift in its Stratford office had a history of “vertical movements” and jolted while she was in it, causing her a long-term injury.

Ms Dolley is suing for pain, suffering and loss of earnings, court filings show. She alleges that the lift she took in 2018 to leave her office on the 13th floor had a rocky descent and caused damage to her back.

She claims that the FCA failed to respond to technical issues that had been previously raised about the elevators in the building.

Ms Dolley is also suing Kone, the company that installed the lifts, as part of the claim. DWS, the German owner of the building, was initially included too but that suit has since been dropped.

In its defence filing, the regulator said that it had no capacity to test lifts and relied on contractors hired by DWS to carry out that work.

The FCA added: "The general allegations that the [FCA] failed to take reasonable care for the safety of the claimant and exposed her to a foreseeable risk of injury… are denied.”

The FCA also said it was unsure why Ms Dolley's claim is going through the High Court, arguing that it should be transferred to a county court.

The regulator claimed that DWS had control over and responsibility for the common areas of its head office, including the lifts, adding that it was the responsibility of the building’s owner to keep them in good repair.

In its own defence before the claim against it was discontinued, DWS, an asset manager owned by Deutsche Bank, admitted that there were previous reports of problems with the lifts but said it does not have the technical expertise required to maintain them and relies on Kone.

Kone’s defence said that any descent in an elevator at FCA's head office would have been at "within-tolerance speed" and denies that any halt would have generated a "sharp jolt."

It also said that it disagrees with the medical evidence submitted by Ms Dolley's lawyers about her injuries.

The FCA’s lawyers have asked for disclosure of medical records and further proof of an injury and will be seeking expert advice, The Sunday Telegraph understands.

It is not the first problem suffered by the FCA  since it moved its headquarters to Stratford in 2018. In 2019, staff at the watchdog were lambasted by bosses for the “shameful” state of the building after some employees defecated and urinated on the floor of lavatories.

A case management conference, which is a hearing to set the deadlines to be met by the parties leading up to a trial and to set budgets for the parties’ costs in the litigation, will be held on October 5.

The FCA, DWS and lawyers representing Ms Dolley declined to comment. Kone was contacted for comment.

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