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Sandy negligence suits against LIPA to proceed

A State Supreme Court justice has denied motions by the Long Island Power Authority and National Grid to throw out a negligence suit filed on behalf of LIPA customers in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy.

The March 27 ruling by Justice Antonio Brandveen, released Wednesday, means that the suit, filed in State Supreme Court in Mineola, will move forward.

Peter Cambs, co-lead counsel for ratepayers at the firm Parker Waichman in Port Washington, said he expects discovery in the case to begin sometime this spring. LIPA and National Grid would be obligated in discovery to begin producing documents, emails and other correspondence relating to their response to the storm.

The suit alleges LIPA and National Grid were "woefully inadequate and grossly negligent" in their preparation and response to Sandy, which left more than 1 million ratepayers without power in the fall of 2012.

"We believe judge did the right thing," Cambs said of Brandveen's decision. "It gives us a chance to go ahead and litigate."

Separate lawsuits have been filed on behalf of more than 100 Breezy Point residents who claimed the utility was negligent in not de-energizing homes and buildings as the storm hit the Rockaway Peninsula, leading to fires that leveled the neighborhood.

Spokesmen for LIPA and National Grid didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

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