Judge says owner can reclaim boat tossed by Sandy

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A federal judge Wednesday ordered that an Elmont, N.Y., boat owner can reclaim his 38-foot powerboat, tossed by Hurricane Sandy from its Lindenhurst, N.Y., dry dock into a nearby homeowner's swimming pool, despite the homeowner's objections, according to court papers.

In apparently one of the first federal lawsuits growing out of the damage caused by the storm, Andres Medina and his insurance company said the storm's high winds lifted his boat from its dry dock at the Anchorage Yacht Club in Lindenhurst and flung it across the narrow waters of Neguntatogue Creek, Newsday reported.

It landed in the swimming pool at the home of Anthony Magadino in Lindenhurst.

"The incredible storm surge and severe winds from Hurricane Sandy caused the vessel to be lifted off its block and swept . . . into the defendant's swimming pool, where it rested after the storm subsided," Newsday quoted the papers as saying.

But then Magadino "made several unreasonable demands relating to alleged damages to his swimming pool and deck to Medina, which he insisted must be met before he would allow … access to his property or the vessel be removed," the papers said, adding that the Silverton 38 Sports Bridge might be severely damaged if the plaintiffs did not have the ability to retrieve it as soon as possible.

U.S. District Judge Leonard Wexler in federal court in Central Islip agreed with Medina and the Standard Fire Insurance Co. and Wednesday gave them the emergency right to go onto Magadino's property and retrieve the boat.

Wexler also scheduled a hearing on issues in the case for next week.

Magadino, reached by telephone by a Newsday reporter, said the boat had caused what he estimated was $75,000 damage, destroying his in-ground pool and deck area.

Magadino said he did not believe it was unreasonable to be paid before the boat was removed from his property, but he said an insurance agent told him to file a claim for the damage.

"They're trying to bully me," Magadino told the paper, adding that he hoped to have his lawyer ask the judge to block the retrieval order.

"I feel for the guy," Medina told the paper, but he said he wanted to check on damage to the boat, which he said was worth $300,000, before winter set in.

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