Description: Lawsuit by property owners seeking to hold Town of East Hampton liable for shoreline erosion.
Cangemi v. Town of East Hampton
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 03/15/2019 Order Download Defendant's motion for judgment as a matter of law granted and compensatory damages award vacated. New York Federal Court Reversed Jury Verdict Against Town of East Hampton for Causing Shoreline Erosion. The federal district court for the Eastern District of New York granted judgment as a matter of the law to the Town of East Hampton, reversing a jury verdict that found the Town liable to the owners of beachfront homes next to two jetties that allegedly caused the plaintiffs’ beaches to erode. The court held that the requirements for intentional private nuisance were not met; that the requirements for negligent private nuisance could not be satisfied because the Town did not have control over the jetties and therefore had no duty to prevent the jetties from damaging or interfering with the plaintiffs’ properties; and that the Town could not be liable for trespass because it had not acted intentionally and willfully or negligently. The court said, alternatively, that it would grant the Town’s motion for a new trial. 07/30/2018 Motion Download Motion for judgment as a matter of law or for new trial filed by defendant Town of East Hampton. On July 30, the Town filed a motion for judgment as a matter of law or for a new trial. The Town argued that no reasonable jury could have found in the plaintiffs’ favor due to the Town’s lack of control over the jetties and an inlet to Block Island Sound, the lack of evidence of intentional conduct on the Town’s part, the lack of evidence that the jetties were the proximate cause of plaintiffs’ damages or interfered with the plaintiffs’ use and enjoyment of their properties, the lack of evidence that the jetties were unreasonable, and the lack of evidence that the Town intentionally caused water to enter the plaintiffs’ properties. The Town’s memorandum of law in support of its motion noted that the plaintiffs’ expert “could not isolate interference by the Jetties from other factors that caused erosion on the western shoreline.” The Town also noted that the expert acknowledged that sea level rise was among the factors causing erosion but did not include sea level rise as a factor in his present. Briefing on the Town’s motion was to be completed by September 7, 2018. 06/29/2018 Verdict Jury verdict finding defendant liable. Jury Found for Property Owners Who Claimed Jetties Owned By Town of East Hampton Caused Shoreline Erosion. On June 29, 2018, a federal jury found in favor of property owners on Montauk (on the eastern tip of New York’s Long Island) on their intentional private nuisance and trespass claims against the Town of East Hampton. The plaintiffs alleged that jetties in Lake Montauk Harbor owned by the Town have caused erosion on the shoreline of their properties, in many cases entirely stripping the properties of “invaluable beach frontage” and leaving their properties more vulnerable to storm damages. 09/14/2012 Complaint Download Complaint filed.