John Caher of the New York Law Journal reported a few days ago on “Park Patrons Made Sick in 2005 Await Overdue Day in Court.” To quote British politician William Gladstone –“Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied.” This is nearly the oldest case we have in the office. As Mr. Caher reports:
Nine years after a parasite (cryptosporidium) invaded a Finger Lakes water park and turned a summertime outing into stomach-wrenching agony for thousands of visitors, 2,501 claimants are still waiting for their day in court.
And they may have to wait even longer.
Although Syracuse Court of Claims Judge Nicholas Midey Jr. has scheduled a trial for May 5, the Attorney General’s Office is seeking a delay until 2015 to challenge several pretrial rulings. Midey has refused to dismiss the case, or to disqualify an expert witness and bar one of the plaintiff firms from continuing to work for claimants it has represented since the case began in 2005.
Assistant Attorney General Edward McArdle, who is defending the case, said in a March 14 motion that the state needed time to pursue an appeal and deal with some trial logistics and last-minute evidentiary issues.
But an attorney for the claimants said the state is simply stalling.
“If a private company had done the things the state has done, the state would be the first to protect the interests of the boys and girls who were made terribly sick during the summer of 2005,” said Paul Nunes, a partner at Underberg & Kessler in Rochester (our cocounsel). “They would be champions for these innocent kids, and their parents. I have a lot of respect for the AG’s office and [Attorney General Eric] Schneiderman. However, the handling of this case has made me very sad.”
Schneiderman’s office declined comment.