Mark Jay Epstein, prominent Melville personal injury attorney and commuter advocate for the Long Island Rail Road, died of a heart attack on Thursday. He was 55.
Epstein was involved in a number of community organizations as commissioner of the Suffolk County Human Rights Commission and served as chairman of the Suffolk County Jewish Advisory Board, devoting himself to the community. He was also a member of the Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce, The Huntington Lawyers Group, The Long Island Association (LIA), The Jewish Lawyers of Nassau County and is a graduate of the Suffolk County Police Department’s Citizens Academy.
“In Mark we had an advocate who was committed to partnering with government, financial institutions, nonprofits, other law associations, and neighborhoods to achieve a more unified, peaceful, merciful and just world,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said. “Mark served with humility, integrity and grace and for all these reasons and more, he will be missed.”
A graduate of American University and New York Law School, Epstein worked as a defense attorney in insurance law and police union attorney. Later, he joined Pazer, Epstein, Jaffe & Fein, earning his title of New York’s Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers Association.
He secured his place on the New York Law Journal’s Hall of Fame for Highest Premises/Verdicts after winning a $5 million settlement for a client and was on the board of directors of the National Trial Lawyers Association.
“It’s difficult to put into words how it feels to lose a partner and friend I’ve known and worked with every day for my entire career,” said Epstein’s colleague, Michael Jaffe. “Mark was like a brother to me. He was the consummate professional, honest, reliable, treating everyone he encountered with dignity and respect.”
Epstein became chairman of the LIRR commuter council in 2011, tirelessly advocating for better service for Long Island residents relying on public transit.
“Mark was a fierce and tireless advocate on behalf of LIRR commuters,” LIRR president Phillip Eng said. “He was dedicated to creating a better LIRR and he challenged the LIRR’s leadership to strive for excellence on the system that he loved and rode on every day. His passion for the region was unparalleled.”
Epstein also is survived by his mother, of Melville; his father, of Florida; his stepmother, Brenda Epstein; and sister Elisa Indek, of Plainview.
Epstein had a virtual funeral on Monday and a small graveside burial at a local cemetery.