Contaminated Properties

Our firm is devoted to advising the citizens of Long Island on how to protect their health, properties and natural resources from the injury and damage caused by the hazardous wastes generated by toxic sites and to receive compensation where warranted.

The US EPA, New York State DEC, and other federal, state and local governments and agencies have identified, documented, and mapped these sites which can pose environmental or public health hazards, and may be classified as federal or state Superfund sites.

Examples of such sites include abandoned former manufactured gas plants (MGP), leaking underground storage tanks, oil spills, active and inactive landfills, incinerators, oil storage and waste water treatment and solid waste management facilities.

For those interested in the MGP KeySpan (National Grid) spill or similar toxic sites we follow with important information in that case:

Nicholson Action Complaint

The Supreme Court of Suffolk County has described the KeySpan lawsuit as follows:

"In this civil action the Plaintiffs seek damages and injunctive relief against the KeySpan Defendants based upon the migration of contaminants from a former manufactured gas plant owned by a predecessor of the companies of KeySpan and the Plaintiffs' exposure to these contaminants. This is a matter of public concern not only because of the effect of the plume on the health, safety and welfare of the persons directly affected by the plume, but because the financial costs involved in remediation of this plume of contaminants that may be borne by the ratepayers of KeySpan if those expenses are passed through to the utility's customers."

The plaintiffs in the action, and in related individual lawsuits, are the owners and occupants of residential and business properties.

They are concerned because the contaminants are hazardous. Exposure may result in cancer and other catastrophic diseases. The presence of the contaminants depreciates the value of their properties, making it more difficult, if not impossible, to sell, obtain or refinance mortgages.

They are also concerned because the contaminants have damaged the natural resources of the Town of Islip, including Lawrence and Watchogue Creeks and the Great South Bay, a major recreational resource, and have put at risk, Suffolk County's sole source drinking water acquifier.

KeySpan is seeking to recover most of the cost to clean up the plumes of contaminants from the owners who are their ratepayers.

KeySpan has estimated the cost to exceed $198 million.

In summary, KeySpan has put the health of the plaintiffs, and those similarly situated, at risk, caused damage to their properties and natural resources, and sent the bill for the clean up to the plaintiffs, and other ratepayers.
Plaintiffs claim that the KeySpan defendants are liable for their wrongful conduct, based on the legal principles of strict liability, trespass, nuisance, and negligence.

They seek as remedies: 1. the expedited clean up of the contaminants; 2. money damages to compensate them for the loss of property value; and 3. a medical evaluation program funded by KeySpan, which will provide for persons exposed to the contaminants, medical services, (such as X rays, MRI's, blood tests, and other diagnostic procedures) designed to detect latent diseases that may be developing, and to facilitate treatment.

The Privilege Log

KeySpan refuses to disclose the contents of 8,200 internal documents going back decades, which describe the history of the operation of the MGP and the growing danger presented by the hazardous wastes which have spread in four separate plumes, cutting a swath through the Village of Brightwaters and the Bay Shore community, the largest of which extends over a mile, and discharges contaminants into Lawrence Creek and Great South Bay.

Plaintiffs are striving to compel their disclosure for several reasons:

Full disclosure is relevant and necessary to assure the public and regulatory authorities that KeySpan's public representations as to its site investigation and remediation activities are truthful.

It is also necessary to aid the public health and environmental protection authorities to determine whether the KeySpan remediation activities will be effective to monitor, timely remove or mitigate the contamination, and to prevent the contaminants from reaching persons through the air, ground water and soil pathways of exposure.