© 2023 WSHU
NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

N.Y. Supreme Court Allows Brookhaven Landfill Lawsuits To Proceed

Courtesy of Pasi Mäenpää from Pixabay

Community members on Long Island will be allowed to sue the town of Brookhaven for the foul odors of a landfill that they said have made them sick.

Attorney E. Christopher Murray represents clients in 25 lawsuits against the Brookhaven landfill.

“There are people that have died as a result of the illnesses that we believe were caused by the landfill. There are people because of the smell and the toxic substances have breathing problems, problems with headaches. There are people who can't go out in their backyard, can't have a barbecue, people who are afraid to open their windows in their house,” Murray said.

A Supreme Court judge in New York denied the town’s request to dismiss the lawsuits. In some cases, the town argued that the statute of limitations for their liability has passed.

Murray said sick residents are seeking undisclosed monetary damages.

Adrienne Esposito is executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment. She said residents and former employees who have gotten sick living near and working at the Brookhaven landfill will get their day in court.

“The results of living next to a 270 foot mountain of garbage and ash and debris are real. These folks have real sickness, and absolutely a reduced quality of life. The lawsuit is an attempt to have the government be held accountable,” Esposito said.

Court records show the landfill has been operating on an expired state permit since November. The town has submitted environmental reports in an attempt to refute the dangers of living near the Brookhaven landfill.

Esposito said plaintiffs will also likely make a case that the town violates federal and state clean air standards for the foul smells coming from the landfill.

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.