Jury finds in favor of student injured in elevator fall

(WMC-TV) - A jury found in favor of a former University of Memphis art student Friday who claims the university is to blame for an accident that left him brain damaged.

Austin Wells is now 30 years old, but the side effects of a traumatic brain injury six years ago are still with him.

Wells was a University of Memphis student who was exhibiting his artwork inside a building on South Main Street when it was an art gallery in 2005.  The day after the exhibit when Wells came back to dismantle his artwork, he fell at least 15 feet down an open elevator shaft.

Wells' mother sued the building owner at the time on behalf of her son, who struggles with permanent disabilities from the fall.

Wells' attorney said the building had no record of inspection and the elevator had no doors.  They are also seeking damages from the University of Memphis, blaming the university for securing a space for one of their events without making sure it was safe for students.

Even though the case has already gone to the jury, it will come up again in court on Monday.  The judge will rule whether the university is liable based on Friday's verdict.

The amount Wells' attorneys are seeking is not firm, but could reach into the millions of dollars.

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