By Tom McCarthy – November 11, 2019
The Village of New Hyde Park has decided not to join North Hempstead’s lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration because its outcome will not change much about airplane noise in the village, New Hyde Park Mayor Lawrence Montreuil said last Thursday.
But the village did vote unanimously to allow a firm to file a lawsuit on the village’s behalf against pharmaceutical companies similar to lawsuits being filed by other municipalities for damages in their community from opioid use, Montreuil said.
“While the Village of New Hyde Park, of course, is very impacted by low flying planes more so than our neighbors to the north,” Montreuil said. “The lawsuit, as it is looking right now, doesn’t seem that an outcome would be that favorable for the Village of New Hyde Park.”
Montreuil said the town’s lawsuit is calling for planes in the area to fly at higher altitudes, which Montreuil said will not help New Hyde Park much because of the village’s proximity to the John F. Kennedy International Airport.
New Hyde Park is too close to the “glide slope” for the 4R/22 left runway at Kennedy airport and airplanes must be at 19,000 feet over New Hyde Park in order to land safely, he said.
“The board didn’t feel that it was a good use of village resources to engage in a lawsuit so we declined to participate,” Montreuil said.
The village will continue communicating with federal leaders like U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) to try to mitigate airplane noise in New Hyde Park, Montreuil said.
At its Oct. 24 meeting, the North Hempstead Town Board voted for a resolution calling for inter-municipal agreements with villages to share the costs of legal action against the FAA. The resolution, introduced by Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth, asks municipalities affected by noise, pollution, and low-flying aircraft to join them.
So far, the villages of Upper Brookville and East Hills have joined the lawsuit.
“This is the first step toward potential legal action against the FAA in hopes of alleviating the burden of low-flying aircraft on the residents of North Hempstead,” Bosworth said.
The board voted unanimously to allow law firm Tate, Grossman, Kelly & Iaccarino to file a lawsuit on behalf of the village to sue pharmaceutical companies for damages related to opioid use and overdoses in the community.
Montreuil said other villages like Garden City and Floral Park have initiated similar lawsuits like these independently.
“As you may have seen, so many states and municipalities are suing some pharmaceutical companies for their part in creating this opioid crisis across the country,” Montreuil said.
“There’s been a lot of settlements going on,” he continued.”It’s based on a per capita basis on how many people are involved in your community and it seeks to compensate the village for costs and damages in the opioid crisis.”
Compensation for the village would go towards preparation tactics for opioid overdoses like training village first responders on how to use Narcan, Montreuil said.
The law firm will work on a contingency basis, Montreuil said, meaning that the firm will take up to 25 percent of proceeds from the case. If there is no recovery, the village pays nothing, Montreuil said. The firm expects the damages from the case to be between $750,000-$1.2 million for the village, he said.