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Personal Injury Law: Cryptosporidium Blog
Seneca Lake "Spray Park" Class Action: Status Update
By Bill Marler
Much has happened since we last reported on the status of the spray park litigation. The period for discovery regarding the liability portion of the case is now closed. We have collected thousands of pages of documents relating to the spray park and have examined under oath numerous State officials involved in the design, construction and operation of the park. We believe that we have assembled ample proof to establish that the State's negligence was the proximate cause of the illness suffered by the many individuals who attended the spray park during the summer of 2005 or received a secondary exposure to cryptosporidium from someone who was there.
At the same time, we have retained national experts, Alison Osiniski of Aquatic Consulting Services as an expert in aquatics and Dr. Jennifer Clancy of Clancy Environmental Consultants, a microbiologist with special expertise regarding cryptosporidium. We have also retained epidemiologists, whose names we are not ready to disclose, in further support of the case against the State of New York.
In contrast, the State of New York has yet to disclose a single expert to support its claim that the spray park was, to use its own words, 'state of the art'.
As you know, mediation was scheduled before Court of Claims Judge Siegel for February 22 and 23, 2010 in Utica. Judge Siegel was designated by Court of Claims Judge Midey to mediate a settlement of this dispute. In this way, Judge Midey, who would preside over a trial of this case, would maintain his impartiality if the mediation ultimately failed.
Judge Siegel, however, discovered on the eve of the mediation that the State was not prepared to go forward. Notwithstanding that the outbreak occurred nearly five years ago, the State was not ready to identify its own defense experts. Accordingly, Judge Siegel postponed the mediation until May 10 and 11, 2010 and, in coordination with Judge Siegel's efforts, Judge Midey has ordered the State to disclose the identities of its proposed expert witnesses and their expected testimony.
In preparation for the May mediation, we have already provided the State with our analysis of the State's negligence and a review of comparable cases so that State representatives and the Court can appraise the value of these collective claims.
This litigation has been long, complex and very difficult. However, we have reached an important crossroad in this litigation. We will know relatively soon whether a compromise can be reached with the State or whether the case must be tried in open court.
We encourage you to look for additional updates regarding the litigation at the official website www.sprayparkoutbreak.com. Also, should you move and/or change addresses, phone numbers, email address, etc. please contact us and update your contact information.
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