South Ozone Park Sewage Legal Assistance Project

November 20, 2020

Disability Justice, Environmental Justice, Health Justice, Healthy Homes, News

A devastating sewage infrastructure failure flooded homes in South Ozone Park, Queens with raw sewage during Thanksgiving 2019. With homes damaged and belongings ruined, many stunned families decamped to hotels. Attempting to navigate time-sensitive governmental claims processes in the midst of their disrupted lives, many community members experienced confusion and reported receiving conflicting guidance from the City Comptroller’s Office – the government entity charged with administering their claims and fully compensating them for their losses. Some ultimately received offers of compensation amounting to a fraction of the value they reported losing. Others were still waiting for offers almost a year after the disaster, and reported newer problems affecting their homes and implicating their health, like mold.

New York Lawyers for the Public Interest and several law firms working on a pro bono basis are providing assistance to numerous affected families as part of the South Ozone Park Sewage Legal Assistance Project. The law firms providing pro bono assistance include Beveridge & Diamond, Jenner & Block, Kelley Drye, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan and Vinson & Elkins.

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