September 03, 2013
[statement]“The Supreme Court understood that, in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the region’s collective need to remove, safely store, and process storm-damaged motor vehicles was critical to the region’s recovery.” – David J. Gilmartin, Jr., Esq.[/statement]
Hurricane Sandy left an estimated 300,000 storm-damaged vehicles strewn randomly throughout the tristate region. An automotive consignment and auction company spent the ensuing months gathering, processing and disposing of these vehicles on behalf of insureds—until December 2012, when the process hit a snag.
“Until that point, the process was running efficiently – particularly given the magnitude of the catastrophe and the work required,” said Brian C. Doyle, partner in the Farrell Fritz Commercial Litigation Group. However, when neighbors to an industrial sand mine and gravel pit that was serving as a temporary storage facility complained, a municipality filed a court application to have thousands of damaged vehicles removed immediately from the site.
Brian and colleagues David J. Gilmartin, Jr. and Eric Bregman defeated the municipality’s application for a mandatory injunction. Working together, the team assembled and presented compelling proof to the Supreme Court that the firm’s client was efficiently and safely remediating a regional problem.
“We can learn from Superstorm Sandy,” said David J. Gilmartin, Jr. “Municipalities can opt to forgo reliance on uncertain court applications and instead provide for temporary zoning accommodations to facilitate recovery efforts.”