The Regency bus that was taking Farmingdale High School band members to...

The Regency bus that was taking Farmingdale High School band members to Pennsylvania is removed from the upstate crash site Sept. 21. Credit: Howard Simmons

At least 13 families have filed lawsuits in the fallout of the September bus crash that killed two educators and injured dozens of Farmingdale High School students who were on their way to a marching band camp in Pennsylvania.

A dozen suits were filed by parents whose children were passengers on the bus that tumbled down a 50-foot ravine on Interstate 84 near upstate Wawayanda Sept. 21. The bus was carrying 40 students and four adults to a marching band training camp in Greeley, Pennsylvania. One suit was filed by Michael Adamo, a passenger on the bus, and his wife, Wendy Adamo.

The families sued Nesconset-based Regency Transportation and driver Lisa Schaffer over alleged negligence, seeking unspecified monetary damages. The earliest suit was filed Sept. 28 and the latest on Jan. 25.

Only one lawsuit named the Farmingdale school district as a co-defendant. It was filed by Nicholas Frewin, who could not be reached for comment Thursday. His attorney, Michael Goldberg, declined to comment. 

School district Superintendent Paul Defendini declined to comment on the lawsuit but said the district is “aware of legal action being taken related to the devastating tragedy that our community experienced in September.”

Band director Gina Pellettiere and chaperone Beatrice Ferrari were killed in the crash.

Edmond C. Chakmakian, a Hauppauge attorney representing Irene Piazza and her sons, said the two students are still getting physical therapy and one may need more surgeries. He also noted the emotional and psychological suffering they endure.

“They saw their teacher die. There’s not a child not affected by that,” Chakmakian said.

A National Transportation Safety Board investigation into the crash is ongoing, according to spokesperson Peter C. Knudson. 

“Most NTSB highway investigations are completed within 12-24 months from the date of the crash,” Knudson wrote in an email Thursday.

When reached by phone Thursday, Al Caliano, president at Regency Transportation Ltd., declined to comment on the lawsuits. Schaffer, the driver, of Centereach, also declined to comment. Julia Lee Harvey, a New York City-based attorney representing Regency and Schaffer, did not respond to a request for comment.

Since the crash, Regency has filed a claim against the state of New York and University at Buffalo, and a second claim against the state and Stony Brook University, alleging breach of contract when multiple trips booked with the company were canceled. The company said that under the contract, cancellations within 60 days "prior to the charter date are payable in full and 100% non-refundable."

Weeks after the crash, Stony Brook University’s ice hockey club canceled four trips it had booked with Regency, according to the claim. In an Oct. 12 email to Regency, the club’s then president wrote “we were unfortunately told by our University yesterday that Regency Bus company is not allowed to be utilized for school trips given the recent incident,” according to an exhibit of email exchanges attached to the claim. The four contracts added up to $18,358.

The University at Buffalo on Sept. 25 told Regency the buses for the trip were no longer needed. Regency said the company had already accepted a purchase order of $17,697 from the university, which makes it a legally binding contract, according to the claim.

Regency’s Massapequa-based attorney, Michael James Prisco, did not respond to multiple requests for comment. The universities declined to comment.

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