Search and recovery continues Thursday, March 13, 2014, the day...

Search and recovery continues Thursday, March 13, 2014, the day after a deadly building explosion in East Harlem. Credit: Craig Ruttle

The family of a musician from Greece killed in last month's Park Avenue gas explosion has filed a claim against the city for $50 million over his death, said an attorney handling the case.

Lisbeth D. Perez, the wife of Andreas Panagopoulos -- one of eight people killed in the March 12 explosion that leveled two buildings -- filed the notice of claim with the city comptroller's office Wednesday. The filing of a notice of claim is the first step toward filing a lawsuit.

Under state law, notices of claims must be filed against a municipality before any lawsuit is commenced. This requirement allows the city time to investigate a claim and make settlement offers.

According to the notice, Panagopoulos, 43, suffered many injuries, including "multiple fractures of his entire body, blunt force trauma, pain and suffering," as well as fear of impending death. Perez is also making a claim for burial expenses and the loss of her husband's financial and emotional support, the notice stated.

Panagopoulos, a U.S. citizen, was buried in Greece where his parents reside, said family attorney Stavros E. Sitinas.

While the claim by Perez is only at this point against New York City, any resulting lawsuit could also include Con Edison, the building owner and others, said Sitinas. The National Transportation Safety Board said that a gas leak caused the blast, which leveled 1644 and 1646 Park Avenue in Manhattan. The NTSB is doing an in-depth study to determine the precise cause of the explosion.

Nicole Turso, a spokeswoman for city Comptroller Scott Stringer, said she wasn't aware of the Perez claim, which was filed April 9. Turso said a total of at least 12 notices of claim had been filed over the gas explosion, mostly for property and vehicle damage. The daughter of Griselde Camacho, 48, who also died in the explosion, filed a claim for $20 million on April 2, records show.

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