On March 26, 2008, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (“Second Circuit”) issued a major decision, allowing the claims of firefighters sickened by dust and contamination at the 9/11 World Trade Center disaster site (“WTC Site”) to proceed against the City and its contractors.
The Second Circuit’s ruling, written by a panel of three judges, is a great victory for all WTC rescue workers with lawsuits pending before the Hon. Alvin K. Hellerstein in the Southern District of New York. The decision was reached after the Court considered the written brief and oral argument of the Uniformed Firefighters Association’s (“UFA”) general counsel, Sullivan Papain Block McGrath & Cannavo P.C. (“Sullivan Papain“).
In October 2006, Judge Hellerstein refused a request by the defendants to dismiss the cases. The defendants urged that the District Court grant them “immunity” or blanket protection from the lawsuits. They argued that since their efforts at the WTC Site were a “good faith” response to an act of war, any failure to provide rescue personnel with appropriate, effective respiratory protection should be overlooked.
The Second Circuit, describing rescue workers as “individuals who, without thought of self, rushed to the aid of the City and their fallen comrades,” determined that Judge Hellerstein’s decision to allow the cases to continue was correct, dealing yet another blow to the defendants.
At this time, the cases will proceed before Judge Hellerstein, who has appointed two officials to assist the Court in the process of reviewing medical records and other relevant information concerning each injured worker. The Court has named Sullivan Papain, currently representing hundreds of firefighters and other Ground Zero workers in the WTC Litigation, liaison counsel to all of the more than 9,000 claimants who have already brought suit.
Because of strict deadlines to bring these types of claims, you are encouraged to contact the firm immediately if you are suffering from an illness or injury you think may be connected to your service at the WTC Site.
Please contact Michael Block, Esq. or Andrew Carboy, Esq. at (212) 732-9000 at once if you have any questions or are interested in bringing a claim.