ISLAND PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Several legal eagle law students from our area are spending their summer volunteering – in a trailer, a trailer where Hurricane Sandy victims are forced to live.
As CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Wednesday, the law students are helping senior citizens maneuver through complicated legal battles to regain their homes.
Anna and Frank D’Amaro’s Island Park home — so waterlogged the wood is rotting – is uninhabitable. It was flooded with 5 feet seawater. They said they had to escape into their attic when Sandy hit.
“The insurance companies don’t call me back,” Anna D’Amaro said.
The retirees on a fixed income managed to scrape enough together to rent a trailer, which they moved onto their property across from the Island Park Canal.
“It’s indescribable. Never figured it in my life, in my old age,” Frank D’Amaro said.
The couple said weeks of waiting for an insurance correction have stretched into months.
“This is like a tin can when it rains, and in the winter this was terrible,” Anna D’Amaro said.
The D’Amaro’s had insured their home for $200,000, yet were awarded just $75,000. They said they were told they could challenge the faulty adjustment, but couldn’t figure out the reams of legal jargon.
“They found us, let’s put it that way — and now there’s hope,” Frank D’Amaro said.
The “hope” is with a group of Touro law student – volunteers — running a Sandy survival clinic, taking on the D’Amaro’s case pro bono. Wednesday marked their third visit to the trailer.
“I have some purpose in law school, other than just getting my degree,” one student said of the motivation.
“I wanted that feeling of self-fulfillment that comes from helping others,” another said.
So it’s a race against the clock. The law students help the D’Amaros file complicated legal paperwork before government and insurance deadlines kick in.
Professor Benjamin Rajotte said the students and D’Amaros are learning from each other.
“We are really proud to be able to stand beside them, have the law school beside them, the resources of the law school beside them, and the students helping them get the recovery that they deserve,” Rajotte said.
“They are like angels, god sent angels to help people out,” Anna D’Amaro said.
The D’Amaros said they don’t want to reveal the name of the insurance company they are battling just yet, for fear it could influence their chances of a settlement.
The Touro law students said word is spreading about their volunteer clinic. They said they have received 100 calls from families unable to negotiate through FEMA’s overwhelmed rebate system.
You May Also Be Interested In These Stories