Court: city, not God, responsible for Staten Island sewage flood

Lucyann Sciacca of Staten Island, representing herself in Small Claims Court, won $5k in her suit against the city for damage done when raw sewage flooded her basement during a 2007 storm which left Staten Island a Federal Disaster Area. The city has defended itself against $1.3 million in previous lawsuits from Staten Island residents with a Department of Environmental Protection decision that the failure of Staten Island's sewers during the storm was due to an Act of God, and the city wasn't liable.

In this case, Judge Katherine A. Levine found that the city couldn't show maintenance records to prove that the sewers were maintained with "reasonable care." Sciacca's Hull Avenue neighborhood was determined to be at high risk for flooding in a recent FEMA remapping of local flood zones, according to the National Flood Insurance Program.

Five thousand dollars is the maximum award in Small Claims Court.

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