- written by Russ Jones
LIDO BEACH, N.Y. -- After eight years of living with the foul stench of heating oil in the crawl space of their home, and after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees seeking justice, Lynn Eskenazi and Steve Kritzberg have yet to get justice.
Even though all involved parties signed a stipulation agreement a year ago, the insurance companies are still engaging in delaying tactics to avoid making payments. (Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Nassau, Index No: 017248/06, Stipulation and Order of Partial Settlement, February 13, 2012, Judge F. Dana Winslow.)
In October 2005, the Kritzberg's affirmed that the oil collecting in the crawl space of their home was coming from the property of their neighbors, Robert and Debra Mackoul, immediately to the east.
"Test after test by our environmental consultants, and by insurance testers, the New York State DEC, have confirmed that the oil is flowing through the ground water from east to west to our home," says Eskenazi.
"Tests also have proven that the oil leak did not originate from our tank, which is on the west side of our house. New York State Navigation law makes it very clear that we are entitled to have our home and property restored to its original pre-spill condition, a remedy confirmed by earlier court hearings."
To finance their legal battle against two insurance companies, Lynn & Steve used all their savings and their boys' college funds. Furthermore, the legal battle has cost Lynn's parent's $625,000 from their retirement funds and an additional $500,000 + is still owed to her lawyers and environmental consultants. To top it off they lost two cars to Hurricane Sandy.
During heavy rains they have to vacate the house due to the stench of oil.
"The courts have agreed our lives should be restored but seem incapable of making that agreement happen. If the courts cannot bring about final resolution, hopefully the governor as well as the legislature can take action to end our eight years of horror. The legal system has failed us."