Long Island City
A Long Island attorney has initiated a class action lawsuit on behalf of Long Island residents, many of who are still without power over two weeks since Hurricane Sandy swept through the northeast.
Ken Mollins, the attorney who filed the civil lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court, Nassau County, is bringing suit against the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) and its partner National Grid. The suit claims breach of contract, gross negligence and fraud, reported CBS News New York.
“We’re bringing a class action because I believe somewhere between 750,000 and 1 million people have been one way or another damaged by the ineptitude of this organization,” said Mollins.
According to News 12, Mollins filed the suit as "broad to demand accountability from the utilities".
“LIPA’s failure and omission to provide electric services to plaintiffs and residents was occasioned by the fact that LIPA neglected vital maintenance, including, but not limited to, tree trimming and electric/transmission pole inspections and replacement,” the plaintiffs said in the suit, reported Business Week. Other claims noted "under budgeting" for storm responses and other contingency related issues.
Mollins also filed a complaint with the New York State Inspector General.
“To investigate the way money has been spent by LIPA and I say to the Inspector General – if it’s criminal, I want arrests. If it’s civil, I want damages,” he said.
Reportedly, as of yesterday, 19,000 LIPA customers were still without power, living in a region where it's currently seeing cold temperatures. According to the utility company's website this morning, this number is in the approximate 8,000 range and LIPA says 99 percent of customers have been restored. These figures do not include those thousands of customers that experienced floods and have damaged equipment.
“We’re focused on restoration and we’ll continue to focus on restoration of those remaining customers and there will be plenty of time to assess performance,” said John Bruckner, president of National Grid, which contracts with LIPA for service and maintenance.
According to several media reports, LIPA has not responded to the lawsuit at this time.
Originally, LIPA had over 1.1 customer outages after Sandy and a subsequent nor'easter arrived. After extended periods of no electricity, it is exhausting and frustrating.
“It’s like banging your head against a wall,” said Bellmore resident Marietta Pollack, reported CBS News. ”It’s a nightmare that doesn’t end.”
The case is on record as Mollins v. Long Island Power Authority, 602288/2012, New York State Supreme Court, Nassau County.
In other LIPA news, it was announced CEO Michael Hervey would be resigning at the end of the year.