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Wed Nov 14, 2012, 01:33 PM

Long Island residents sue utilities, charge 'gross negligence' after Sandy

Source: CNN

It has been more than two weeks since Superstorm Sandy hit the Northeast, yet many still remain without power.

Two residents of New York's Long Island are going to court declaring, in effect, they've had enough.

A lawsuit filed Tuesday by the two residents charges the area's main electricity providers -- Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) and its partner National Grid -- committed "gross negligence, breach of contract, and fraud," according to attorney Ken Mollins, who is representing the plaintiffs.

Although the suit, which does not seeks specific damages but calls on the court to award "a sum to be determined at trial," was filed by two individuals, Mollins entered the claim as a class-action, which would allow other residents to join as plaintiffs.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/13/us/new-york-sandy-utilities-suit/index.html



Hmm. Warranted or ambulance-chasing? The top comment: "Lawyers never ever miss an opportunity to look for money from any disaster or other event. Ruthless bottom feeders."

I searched this lawyer's name. Among other clients:
- A teenager suing a pharma company over side effects from a male enhancement drug (questionable);
- A teenage victim of an impaired driver; the victim needed treatment for traumatic brain injury and then sued the driver (OK, but...);
--(A Topix.com forum for the community where the incident happened had comments about Mollins such as "His father gave him the money to open up a practice and he was too incompentent to practice any kind of respectable law so he resorted to advertising" and "Ken Mollins is a selfish, ruthless attorney who is rude to his clients, and takes advantage of many people who are not knowledgable on the personal injury aspect of the law.")
- Nursing home residents who accused the home of ignoring complaints about mold;
- Someone who was trampled at a Wal-Mart on Black Friday 2009 (sounds warranted).

26 replies, 3206 views

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Reply Long Island residents sue utilities, charge 'gross negligence' after Sandy (Original post)
alp227 Nov 2012 OP
hobbit709 Nov 2012 #1
SoapBox Nov 2012 #2
Dubster Nov 2012 #3
angel823 Nov 2012 #4
kentauros Nov 2012 #14
dixiegrrrrl Nov 2012 #20
kentauros Nov 2012 #22
dixiegrrrrl Nov 2012 #23
kentauros Nov 2012 #25
angel823 Nov 2012 #26
dipsydoodle Nov 2012 #5
winterpark Nov 2012 #6
Mojorabbit Nov 2012 #13
docgee Nov 2012 #7
hrmjustin Nov 2012 #8
RC Nov 2012 #9
hrmjustin Nov 2012 #11
dixiegrrrrl Nov 2012 #19
FreeBC Nov 2012 #10
azureblue Nov 2012 #12
Jennicut Nov 2012 #15
Scruffy Rumbler Nov 2012 #16
kentauros Nov 2012 #24
Megahurtz Nov 2012 #17
truthisfreedom Nov 2012 #18
WooWooWoo Nov 2012 #21

Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 01:36 PM

1. Another shyster trying to make a name for himself.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 01:42 PM

2. Why don't they sue Sandy?

...just say'n.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 01:49 PM

3. Spam deleted by gkhouston (MIR Team)

 

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 02:15 PM

4. I have a bit of first-hand knowledge about storms and power outages

After Ike, it was almost three weeks before I got my power back here in Houston. I feel for the folks on Long Island - it's not easy to live without electricity, and to be fair I did have gas service, and for the last week or so, a generator.

I don't know all the details, of course, but it seems a bit over-the-top.

Angel in Texas

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Response to angel823 (Reply #4)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 04:00 PM

14. My impression of their reaction

is that they are inexperienced with hurricanes, unlike the rest of us on the lower coasts. We understand it can take weeks to restore power, and we live with that. They don't know what it's like. Even when they read of our plight in the news, they either don't comprehend it, or the idea of it doesn't linger in their consciousness for long. What happens to us isn't their problem.

Now that it is their problem, they don't know how to live with it.

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Response to kentauros (Reply #14)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 09:19 PM

20. Speaking of.....Schneiderman Subpoenas Con Edison and L.I. Power Authority Over Storm

ALBANY ó Attorney General Eric T. Schneidermanís office has issued subpoenas to the Long Island Power Authority and Consolidated Edison as part of an investigation into whether the utilities violated state laws in their response to Hurricane Sandy, people with knowledge of the investigation said.

The subpoenas sent by Mr. Schneiderman seek information from the utilities about how they prepared for the storm, and how they responded to power failures.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/15/nyregion/schneiderman-subpoenas-con-edison-and-lipa-over-storm.html?ref=nyregion

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #20)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 10:18 PM

22. One thing that stood out in that article

in reference to the companies' preparedness was the "trimming of trees." Now, while they might have been able to do a little of that three days before the storm, it would have been impossible to trim every single instance of a tree or branches too close to the lines. Now, it's another story entirely if they were lax in that kind of maintenance all along.

And there will always be trees you can't predict. They may look solidly rooted now...

But as far as individuals suing the power companies now, because it's been about two weeks for them being without power, it still boils down to inexperience with this kind of thing and the assumption that it's no big deal to restore power.

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Response to kentauros (Reply #22)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 10:23 PM

23. Apparently the company had been lax all along in tree trimming.

From what I read in the NYTimes this week.

Tree trimming happens here in our hurricane prone area every June or so, after trees have leafed out but before hurricane season gets wound up.

Sadly, a LOT of the "trimming" consists of cutting off all the branches on one side of the tree, leaving it top heavy for the next good wind to blow it over onto the house.
but hey, away from the street power lines, so there is that.

I make it a point to 'supervise" the trimming on our property.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #23)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 10:34 PM

25. The do the same thing here.

I'd rather they install taller poles than hack up the trees like that. Or move the poles around them if possible. Sure, more expense on their part, but if it means less chance of losing the lines in the next storm, then that's what you do.

I can believe it that they hadn't been doing regular maintenance. I'd sure like to know when they all stopped that practice. You'd think that they'd realize that customers without power for three weeks or more is worth the cost.

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Response to kentauros (Reply #25)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:30 AM

26. taller poles or buried cables - heck yeah

The regular maintenance thing is important in this case, true. I know they truly stepped up their trimming in my area after Ike, although they did come around before that, too. I live in an older area, and I love the big, mature trees. However, they make us vulnerable.

The "protocols" for trimming the trees now is terrible - they do a god-awful job, hacking away. I wish they would take the time and expense to bury the cables, even if it meant charging a bit more.

Angel in Texas

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 02:22 PM

5. Rec'd for your own bachground research.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 02:41 PM

6. They're suing because they don't have power yet? Here in Central Fl

after Charlie, some people didn't have power for 3 weeks. It was 90degrees and humid. But I don't think anyone sued about the power. Trucks began streaming into florida from other states on the same night charlie was hitting us and while it was frustrating, we saw them working as fast as they could.

This is why all electrical lines need to be grounded wherever possible.

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Response to winterpark (Reply #6)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 03:52 PM

13. Exactly! If you are in WP you are a five min or so drive from me.

I did have a generator and had gas cans filled prior to storm just in case.
I however, did not turn off or unplug all my appliances and when the power was turned back on, a regulator near the road pole
that mediates the surge was not working and so fried everything from washer and drier to stereo. Live and Learn.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)


Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 02:48 PM

8. Good! The power companies should be made to suffer.

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #8)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 03:07 PM

9. Have you read your own tag line?

 

"Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."
Where is your "Love"?

It takes time to replace poles and string wire. They have to check each and every connection before they can restore power. To dry out or replace connection boxes and transformers. They have to check lines, point to point, before they can energize them. They have to check out each and every drop to the houses and businesses to make sure there is not a problem inside before restoring power there. All this takes time.
Being an Lineman electrician is heavily regulated. Everything has to be done by the book.
If they don't take enough care and re-energize a down line somewhere and kill some one or start a fire, there be hell to pay. Or if they cross some wires and short out a primary somewhere, the sparks may be pretty, but the damage is not. To say nothing about getting repair crews killed, if they rush too much.

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Response to RC (Reply #9)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 03:19 PM

11. I live here in Ny and can tell you they ran out of poles and wire.

LIPA sucks!
You are right I need to remember my tag line.

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Response to RC (Reply #9)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 09:15 PM

19. NYC news reports say the problem is that the homes have to be inspected first.

They have power restored to areas without much home damage, but the badly hit homes might have both interior and exterior electrical problems that have to be fixed before a surge of electricity can be sent to them.

Another problem that some people may have:
If you have gas heat/cooking, before a big storm there are advisories to turn your gas off
( to prevent explosions when the storm hits).
but
if you do that, and come out of the storm intact, you have to wait until the very overly busy gas company can send someone to "certify" your gas at the home can be turned on.
Voice of experience here......

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 03:09 PM

10. My power was out for longer than that after Hurricane Exxon.

 

It sucks. I feel their pain. But the guys trying to get it back on are doing the best they can.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 03:20 PM

12. Whiners

Remember The New Orleans Katrina flood, and be thankful you have president that cares.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 04:10 PM

15. LIPA is a mess but I don't think people in the Northeast are used to hurricanes like this.

Or power outages.
One thing to remember is the northeast has a lot of old power lines, grids, substations. The lines are mostly above ground.

We had a lot of issues in Connecticut over the past year with power outages. I think our Governor could write a book on it and did in fact have a report about power outages and Irene.

It would take a lot of money to upgrade the power systems along the northeast but it needs to be done eventually. Some want to bury the lines but this is one of the most heavily populated areas of the entire United States. My husband works for a utility in CT and they would have tons of work for him and his fellow workers but it would be very expensive leading to increased rates. Unless the govt. steps in of course.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 04:24 PM

16. Didn't I read somewhere...

not only Sandy wiping out lines, transformers, poles and substations, but the Nor'easter hit much of the same area? I imagine these companies don't have endless stockpiles of this equipment on hand, and if they did, these sound like the same people that would complain of the costs to have such stockpiles!

My heart goes out to these folks, especially as this cold weather settles in, but it seems counter productive to suck resources from these companies. OMG... did I just defend corporations? I need smelling salts!

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Response to Scruffy Rumbler (Reply #16)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 10:30 PM

24. I kind of defended them in a post above.

However, at the same time, they have been lax across the country in day-to-day maintenance, because that kind of thing eats into profits. It wasn't like that in the early 80s and before. They maintained the grid so it could withstand these storms or worse.

In 1983, Hurricane Alicia hit Houston. We were without power for no more than one week. It was miserable, and they had actually fixed all the power lines before the week was up. But, they had to check everything as others have pointed out, before energizing the grid once more.

In 2008, we were hit by Hurricane Ike, and some parts of town were without power for five weeks. My own neighborhood didn't get power restored until three weeks later. They hadn't been maintaining the grid like before and a slightly weaker storm did more damage. Ike was a strong Cat-2 while Alicia was a weak Cat-3.

And this talk of upgrading the infrastructure also means enriching those same corporations that didn't want to do "scheduled maintenance" any longer. Regulating them to do that maintenance would help

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 05:09 PM

17. Lol, good luck with that! nfm

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 08:35 PM

18. I kinda think that the power companies involved are trying as hard as they can.

Not sure how a law suit like this would work. It's certainly not in the interest of the power companies to be negligent. It's probably very serious damage to the equipment and wiring and perhaps even the wiring in flooded homes that is causing the delay.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 09:49 PM

21. my family was without power for 12 days

and they didn't live anywhere close to the hard-hit areas on Long Island. In fact, they're smack dab in the middle of the island, not even close to the shore.

The fact that the power went out for that long is inexcusable.

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