Report: Melville Attorney Leading Class Action Against LIPA

With LIPA working to restore power to some 14,000 customers in the dark 15 days after Hurricane Sandy hit Long Island, the power company is now facing legal action.

According to a report in Newsday, Melville attorney Kenneth Mollins was planning to file a class action lawsuit Tuesday in State Supreme Court in Nassau County against the Long Island Power Authority and National Grid. The suit charges the companies with negligence, reckless disregard and intentional failure, Newsday said.

“Long Islanders are being kept in the dark by LIPA,” Mollins told Newsday. “Long Islanders are tired of waiting. They want their power and want to know what’s going on.”

Specifics on the level of monetary damages being sought were not made public. Mollins, however, told Newsday that the class action suit could be “the biggest class-action ever filed.”

The lawsuit is the latest in a series of public rebukes against LIPA following Hurricane Sandy. The power provider has been chastised by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and numerous federal, state and local officials for what they said was LIPA’s poor response and poor communication as it worked to turn the lights back on across Nassau and Suffolk counties.

On Saturday, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s frustration with LIPA led him to sever communications with LIPA executives, and instead work directly with local substations across the County in an effort restore power to some 33,000 customers.

By Tuesday morning, slightly less than 4,000 LIPA customers in Suffolk were still without power. In Nassau, 11,265 customers remain without power.

VT November 13, 2012 at 09:40 PM
DD you knucklehead, How can you be prepared for any and all catastrophes no matter on their unknown magnitude? Buy 10 million extra poles, why not 100 million? Hire 25,000 extra workers and have them sit in the park 364 days a year waiting for a storm to show up? You whiners who missed a few days of TV are just out of control, be glad you only lost power for a few days and move on with your lives.
Erin Schultz November 13, 2012 at 09:56 PM
Anne Doherty Bialeski said via North Fork Patch Facebook: "So ridiculous....LIPA is doing the best they can with the circumstances they were handed, things take time. I feel bad for those still without power but they are working as hard as they can."
Frank November 13, 2012 at 10:29 PM
@ Matthew Hogan. Why not post, for the benefit of all the young Patch readers, a general synopsis of LIPA? There is a need to get the facts straight about this patronage mill that is run by NYS. Here are some good links: http://www.lipower.org/company/profile/mission.html http://www.lipower.org/company/profile/trustees-bios.html http://www.lipower.org/company/profile/transparency.html http://www.lipower.org/shoreham/history.html Ooh, transparency. :-) http://www.lipalies.com/Abridged%20History%20of%20LIPA.htm http://assembly.state.ny.us/Reports/Energy/199707/ http://www.osc.state.ny.us/press/releases/oct12/100312a.htm www.gfxtechnology.com/RICO.pdf http://www.nytimes.com/1998/06/21/nyregion/l-taxpayers-still-losers-in-lilco-lipa-deal-496472.html
Chris November 13, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Hey Erin......do your homework! Get informed on Lipa.
villager November 14, 2012 at 12:57 AM
That's a good one -- Smookler the dietician on the LIPA Board. Maybe she's there to slim-down the fat-cat political appointees on the Board.
villager November 14, 2012 at 01:06 AM
Heck -- I thought Richie Kessel fixed everything when he engineered the LIPA takeover of LILCO.....
Greg Fischer November 14, 2012 at 03:58 AM
The Governor and the TWO County executives are opposing and blocking LIPA reform. If any of them consents to ELECTED LIPA TRUSTEES by way of Fischer v. NYS Board of Elections, EDNY CV-12-5397, just so we can have elected LIPA trustees, we do not need any further state, legislative, or other approvals to have OPEN CITIZEN GOVERNANCE of LIPA by way of Elected Trustees. All that has to happen now is a simple consent and this very important reform can open LIPA to competition and let towns create their own Municipal Power Authorities like Greenport that pays 40% less for electricity, creates GOOD LOCAL JOBS, and only had one hour of blackout. Please don't let them lie to us any longer --- hold them accountable. Thanks!
Greg Fischer November 14, 2012 at 03:59 AM
Fixed it alright ... who blocked Trustee elections from 86 to 95 then killed elections completely?
villager November 14, 2012 at 05:27 AM
All this focus on LIPA, a state authority which is merely a Board of political appointees. They don't actually have crews of linemen, servicemen, tree trimmers, or managers of the electric system who work directly for LIPA -- those workers are employees of National Grid, under contract to LIPA (before Nat'l Grid, they were employees of Keyspan contracted to LIPA, & before May'98 they were LILCO employees). Many of the current managers of the electric T&D system were working for LILCO 14 yrs ago. LIPA is responsible now, but they go along with whatever plans -- and budgets -- the NatGrid managers tell them are needed, yielding to their expertise. If there was a lack of planning, improvements to infrastructure, advanced tree trimming, or no updating of LIPA's storm-response communications system, then NatGrid bears as much responsibility as LIPA. It's correct that this lawsuit targets both of them, but as mentioned by others here, any fines or refunds will simply be passed along to the ratepayers.
NH Taxed November 14, 2012 at 10:11 AM
Kaiman would have fixed the outage in a few hours like he has fixed his building Department for past 8 years . o yes he really would have . off course only in his own small mind .
AKramden November 14, 2012 at 12:46 PM
I agree with you KC...we have not seen a storm like this ever...I don't know what people expect.
Indira November 14, 2012 at 03:28 PM
I agree, we were without power for 13 days. LIPA men were walking through our neighborhood on November 10th to assess the damage 13 days after the storm they walked through the backyards of all of our homes and informed us that there was serious damage to the poles and it will be another week or more to restore the power back on. The assessment walk by LIPA was between 10 & 11 AM and our power was turned back on by 4PM that very day. There were no pole replacement as they mentioned that they will have to do because of the "so called" extensive damage. This goes to prove that the power could have been turned on a lot sooner, but LIPA didn't even send anyone to assess the damage for 12days after the storm and let us just suffer! There are about 40 homes in our complex and many homes with small children. Prism2
Tom November 14, 2012 at 04:02 PM
How about moving wires underground? How about having plans ready for a catastrophe? There are things that LIPA can do. Do you think that other utilities are caught completely unprepared?
KC - Sayville November 14, 2012 at 04:04 PM
What an insult to those willing to aide and assist!
Tom November 14, 2012 at 04:06 PM
I live in the middle of Long Island and yet had to wait 12 days before I got power restored. Why? Because LIPA had no plans for how to handle a catastrophe. Shouldn't a utility at the very least know how they will respond?
KC - Sayville November 14, 2012 at 04:07 PM
The power of FaceBook....you should start trending there.
Tom November 14, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Suppose you build a building in an earthquake zone but make no plans for earthquakes. Then an earthquake comes and destroys the building. Do you get to claim it was just an act of God and had nothing to do with you? LIPA should have had this thing called "a plan". Many utilities have them. They plan on what they will do in the event of a disaster. They plan on how to reduce the effect of a disaster. LIPA could have looked into ways to reduce the risks from a serious storm, perhaps moving wires underground in certain areas.
Tom November 14, 2012 at 04:18 PM
This is a myth. The reason was because LIPA had no plans for what to do in the event of a disaster.
paul November 14, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Lawsuit???? For nothing... Just so the lawyer thinks he is a tuff guy..... Oooooooo I am so scared.....
Tom November 14, 2012 at 04:21 PM
LIPA may be doing the best they can but all they have demonstrated is that they are not qualified to handle an emergency. The "best they can" is not good enough. They have no plans. They have no ability to co-ordinate the repair effort. They have computer systems that are old and poorly designed.
K. November 14, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Funny but whether it is this class action lawsuit, the tough talk from the gov., the stepping down of the LIPA CEO or any of this well choreographed dance that takes place every time the little guy gets hosed -but something tells me none of it will amount to a hill of beans in change. Nada.
J Mas November 14, 2012 at 06:08 PM
unbelievable that we're still paying for a nuclear facility that a) was completed in 1986 and b) was never in operation. i can't even get a real number on what that debt number truly is. how can the debt be increasing each year? we're not paying enough in utility costs to even service the interest on the debt? how can that be? i hope this lawsuit is about one thing and one thing only: accountability. LIPA has taken no accountability whatsoever since sandy hit over two weeks ago. they've blamed everyone but themselves for their poor handling of the situation. they have crews from out of state who are not being allowed to fix lines because LIPA employees won't let them. they have misled people over and over on what the issues seem to be and when they expect power to be restored. i mean for christs sake, they don't even let you speak to someone if you call!!!! you get an automated message that they're busy working to restore power so nobody can answer your call. this is not the sign of a well run, well operated organization. these are the signs of an incompetent company and when an organization is incompetent, it's the people at the top who've got to go. get them out of bed with state legislature and fix the problems effecting your constituents.
Gold Rush November 15, 2012 at 04:17 AM
I have to agree, the blame is evenly spread. Now ideas, Make all 12ft or taller trees wards of the state, (that are judged to be within power line proximity) they being living. breathing, contributors to "society humana". You can own it, but the "state" takes care of it, I can see jobs, propagation of more numbers of trees, botanists needed, new trees genetically resilient to wind and rains, engineered to grow slow, low or both, pruned on a scientific schedule and method, primarily tracing power distribution paths. The blame for most power outs, AND SLOW RESTORES, is trees, as I see it. To help pay? Raise bottles 5 cent to 10, expand plastics included, give $ to "State" "Treemen". We don't have underground wires, so why do we ignore the above ground ones??? We did it to ourselves, folks! The storms took down the biggest and weakest trees, for us, ALREADY BEEN CLEARED OR SOON TO BE, lets keep the momentum, VOTE "Treemen" to save our power! IT IS SOCIETIES PROBLEM, NOT ONLY THE UTILITIES. I know, never gonna happen, right
Gold Rush November 15, 2012 at 04:41 AM
LIPA, PAY ATTENTION: SPEND MORE MONEY ON TREE TRIMMING, NEAR OR NEXT TO, YOUR FRAGILE OVERHEAD LINES, and the next storm, be better prepared, and watch the pruned trees swing harmlessly in the wind and rain, and the lawyers (or public) not, "hunting you down".
Gold Rush November 15, 2012 at 05:02 AM
WELL THEN SOME OF THE BLAME SPITS ITSELF ONTO THE TREE HUGGERS, APPROPRIATELY. Wait, don't Dead trees get removed, QUICKLY, like Dead people do, along side of the LIPA wire! Please see my post at 11:17 pm on Wednesday, November 14, 2012 for my ideas on trees and their impact to us ALL.
Gold Rush November 15, 2012 at 05:20 AM
Nice job Frank! I like your "history" I'll add, Albany has always had a "rock in its pant pocket" for it's 2 more evolved islands, because they exist in the shadow of... And their feelings are still HURT, dammit. ;-p
Gold Rush November 15, 2012 at 06:13 AM
And poor LIPA, they the top guys, could have learned, for free, from 1938, on google, what to do right, but no one there surfs anything but "Thomas Edison" and "DC current". [I bet some of you thought I was gonna say "no one there surfs anything but Pxxx", naughty] They shun Nicolai Tesla, whose idea was to pass our AC voltage wirelessly to us, through the air! He had a lab (now growing rust) right here on LI! Nicolai Tesla, is why we have AC to our homes, not DC [like batteries] (proposed by Edison) . Fact is, AC transmits further distances, easier. Theoretically, as long as your "power receiver" is OK, and your home wiring too, and the "TESLA tower" near you was up, you get power. Let the wind blow 'eh? See, the problem is appears to be greed, or even someone with poor foresight creating our current system problems and dilemma's This [TESLA tech, now decades old] would eliminate, most tree problems, eliminate charging you for bigger, seemingly useless, management, eliminate charging you for a larger technical staff, [probably], eliminate charging you for a huge, [vulnerable on several fronts], too complex, costly to maintain, transmission network, to bring the power to you, and I bet other, "we can make more $$ if we", ideas. IMO
AKramden December 01, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Don't do it on my behalf. Go back to chasing ambulances is right. Who do you think will pay for this lawsuit if he is successful. THE RATEPAYERS. How about suing the state for hiring friends and relatives who are not qualified to run this LIPA?
Arguendo December 01, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Have you even read the filing and seen who and what the suit is going after?
Seadog24 December 01, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Who forgot to watch LIPA and see that they had all systems ready? (Hey Gov I think you know the answer


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