NYC denies all 4,703 property damage claims for Hurricane Ida

People clean up their flooded homes in a Queens neighborhood that saw massive flooding and numerous deaths following a night of heavy wind and rain from the remnants of Hurricane Ida on Sept. 3, 2021
People clean up their flooded homes in a Queens neighborhood that saw massive flooding and numerous deaths following a night of heavy wind and rain from the remnants of Hurricane Ida on Sept. 3, 2021. Photo credit Spencer Platt/Getty Images

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- The New York City comptroller has reportedly denied the property damage claims of every resident—some 4,700—who filed against the city in the wake of Hurricane Ida.

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The remnants of Ida slammed the five boroughs with unprecedented downpours on Sept. 1, 2021, killing 13 people and causing widespread damage as the storm obliterated the city's record for the most rainfall in an hour.

All 4,703 New Yorkers who filed negligence claims against the city were denied, according to a Tuesday report in The City.

The residents received denial letters signed by city Comptroller Brad Lander, who cited a 1907 judicial precedent that municipalities are “not liable for damage from ‘extraordinary and excessive rainfalls.’”

In general, the claims from residents asserted that the city’s negligence in sewer maintenance led to flood damage.

“Where damage is caused by negligent action or omission on the part of the City of New York, the City may be liable; however, that was not the case here,” reads the comptroller's letter dated Aug. 12.

The office cited the “extraordinarily heavy rainfall” on the night of Sept. 1, including a record-breaking 3.15 inches that fell over a single hour in Central Park.

The city’s sewer systems were built to handle less than 2 inches of rain each hour.

Claimants have until about Nov. 30 to file a lawsuit against the city.

1010 WINS has reached out to the comptroller’s office for comment.

Among those whose claim was denied was Queens resident Kathleen Conway, who told 1010 WINS she’d never seen anything like the rainfall that night, when powerful floodwater inundated her basement in Maspeth.

“The way that water came out of there, it was like a geyser,” she said. “In less than 10 minutes, it was coming in my basement from this side, from the back, from the front.”

Conway had to dip into her life savings after receiving $8,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. She said the FEMA money helped, but it didn’t cover all the expenses, as she had to replace a number of costly appliances, including her furnace, hot water tank, washer and dryer.

“It actually turned my chest freezer over, turned my washing machine over from the force of the water,” she said.