Tumble down elevator shaft results in lawsuit

Monday, September 27, 2010 at 7:46pm

Two months before Aaron Bagley provided testimony that helped convict Kelley Cannon of murder in April, he lay at the bottom of an elevator shaft in a downtown garage, bleeding profusely from the head.

Bagley, of Nashville, has filed suit against Central Parking Corp. over a Feb. 28 accident at the Central garage located at Third and Commerce Street. His complaint, filed earlier this month in Davidson County Circuit Court and available at this link, says he fell into the shaft after leaning on an elevator door as he and friends were headed to their cars at around 2 a.m.

A friend jumped down after Bagley, finding him unresponsive in a pool of blood, the lawsuit says. "Upon arriving at the scene, the Metro Nashville Fire Department was unable to gain access to the elevator shaft because Central Parking failed to maintain a proper set of keys with which to gain control of the elevator in case of emergency," Bagley claims.

"In fact," the complaint says, "Central Parking was unable to produce an elevator door key, an elevator key, a key for access to the 9th floor from the stairwell, nor an elevator equipment room key" to the firefighters.

The lack of access delayed Bagley's treatment, according to the lawsuit, but he was eventually taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

He had apparently recovered enough by April 28 to take the stand in the celebrated trial of Cannon, who was accused of choking to death her attorney-entrepreneur husband Jim Cannon at their Green Hills home in 2008.

Bagley, who had been a bartender in Smyrna in May 2008, told the court that Cannon had come into his bar late that month and begun talking about her pending divorce. She said that "if he tried to take the babies from her ... she would kill him," Bagley testified. The murder took place less than a month later.

A jury convicted Cannon the day after Bagley's appearance.

He seeks at least $150,000 in compensatory damages from Central, alleging the company was negligent in "failing to maintain its premises in a reasonably safe and non-hazardous condition for its customers." Attorney Rob Briley, with Shuttleworth Williams PLLC in Nashville, brought suit on behalf of Begley.

Central Parking did not respond last week to a request for comment.