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Residents who lost home to sinkhole in Pembroke file a lawsuit

By Chris Butler

According to a recently filed lawsuit, four Pembroke residents lived in the same home on Scribner Road, but it fell into a sinkhole, allegedly due to activities at the nearby Akron Quarry.

Those people — Gene and Tracy Nati, as well as Daniel and Brittany Hill — had no choice but to abandon their house. They recently filed a lawsuit against the Town of Pembroke and Erie and Genesee counties. The four said those town and county leaders committed negligence. The Hills and the Natis want more than $1 million in damages.

The lawsuit said those local leaders oversaw the quarry and expanded the scope and frequency of its operations, “including the drawdown of groundwater and blasting,” even knowing they could damage private properties.

“On August 7, 2022, claimants heard cracking and popping sounds at approximately 6:30 a.m. Claimants then noticed the windows and doors in their home would not open or shut properly. They discovered cracking in their land, driveway, and foundation, and they observed that the home appeared to be sinking into the earth,” according to their lawsuit.

“Accordingly, claimants notified the authorities, and the Town of Pembroke condemned the home as unfit for occupancy. It is no longer safe for residential purposes. As a result of the towns' and/or counties' negligence and reckless conduct in permitting the expansion and continuation of the quarry's activities, the whole or in part, a direct and proximate result of the negligent and reckless acts of the towns, counties, their agents, and/or employees.”

The four Pembroke residents said their property suffered severely reduced property values and other damages that they believe exceed $1 million.

Buffalo attorneys Thomas D. Lyons and Charles C. Ritter, Jr. represent the four Pembroke residents.

Pembroke Town Board members discussed the lawsuit at last Thursday’s regularly scheduled board meeting — but only behind closed doors.

“Due to pending litigation, no further discussion will be held in open forum,” the meeting’s minutes read.

The Batavian’s attempts on Monday to contact Pembroke officials about the lawsuit were unsuccessful.

Photos: File photos by Alecia Kaus/Video News Service.

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