Family of Sandy victim to sue city

The family of a University graduate student who died during Superstorm Sandy has filed a notice of claim intending to sue the city of New
York, according to multiple media outlets.

A tree that fell during the storm killed Tony Laino, who was 29 at the time of his death. According to multiple media outlets, Laino was in his bedroom at the time the tree ripped through his house.

Laino was one of 43 city residents who died during the storm.

The Laino’s family lawyer, Rosemarie Arnold, told the Wall Street Journal “unlike some of the other storm fatalities, Mr. Laino’s death cannot be considered “an act of God” because that would require circumstances that were “unforeseen.”

The lawyer filed the claim on January 2, according to multiple media outlets.

According to the Queens Courier, the family will sue the city for “emotional, mental distress and monetary damages, including funeral and burial expenses.”

Bobby Laino, the older brother of Tony, told the Courier that he’s “been telling [the city] to take down this tree for 20 years.”

The Courier also reported “according to Arnold, the Lainos’ house deed shows the tree was on city, not private, property.”

“There’s so much wrong with this picture that it was basically an accident waiting to happen,” Arnold told the Wall Street Journal.

Arnold claims that several 311 calls were ignored or that the city only ever pruned the tree, which, Arnold claims, only made the roots more unstable.

A city Law Department spokeswoman has said that they will evaluate the claim filed by Laino’s lawyer. “We recognize that this incident involves a loss of life, which is tragic,” the spokeswoman said.

Rev. Donald J. Harrington, C.M. President of the University, told the University community of Laino’s death in an email sent two days after the storm.

“I am saddened to report our community did experience a great loss in the storm-related death of one of our own,” Harrington wrote.

“Anthony Laino was a 2004 St. John’s graduate and an outstanding graduate student in the Tobin College of Business Risk Management Program, and son
of Carol Laino, a longtime employee of the University. I hope you will join me in remembering Anthony and the Laino family in your thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time.”