Roslyn residents awarded half-million dollars in year-long legal battle against village

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A 12-year legal battle ended last week with a half-million-dollar payout to a couple who said they were persecuted by Roslyn village officials.

Roslyn resident Judith Wilner was awarded $550,000 last week by a jury in Nassau County Supreme Court after suing the village for malicious prosecution and violating her constitutional rights. Justice Leonard Steinman presided over the trial.

During a heavy rain storm in October 2005, the Roslyn Village Hall was damaged by flood water and mud rolling downhill to the backside of the building.

Village officials alleged the path of the water was altered by Wilner’s makeshift drainage device on her Verity Lane property that did not meet village code and illegally discharged storm water down the hillside behind the hall.

Wilner and her husband Harry, asserted the damage was caused by the village’s own drainage system and accused the village of shifting blame to the couple for the malfunctioning components by continuing the prosecution of the summons.

Immediately following the storm, Roslyn’s code enforcement officer concluded a faulty storm drain on the Wilners’ property caused the landslide, but a subsequent investigation revealed the damage was due to a clogged and damaged manhole, which was part of a drain line belonging to the village.

Despite this subsequent revelation, the village proceeded with the criminal action against Wilner until the trial in 2006, at which point the village moved to dismiss the case.

As a result, the Wilners claimed the village was guilty of malicious prosecution and deprived them of their constitutional right, and a jury agreed.

“The jury saw through the village’s attempt to blame my client through a baseless criminal proceeding,” Wilner’s attorney, E. Christopher Murray, said in a press release.

Attorney Brian Sokoloff, representing Roslyn and the village’s insurance company, did not return requests for comment before time of publication.

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