April 1, 2008
No Immunity for NYC in 9/11 Claims
BNA Law Week reports that on March 26 the Second Circuit held that New York City and its contractors are not automatically entitled to derivative Stafford Act immunity for state law claims brought by various persons (police, firefighters, etc.) who helped clean up the site of the World Trade Center attacks of September 11, 2001. In re World Trade Center Disaster Site Litigation, 2d Cir., No. 06-5324-cv, 3/26/08. The opinion is available here, on the Second Circuit website.
A quote from the opinion:
"Separation of powers animates discretionary function immunity; this doctrine does not permit us to extend limitless derivative immunity to ensure that, in the event of another attack, contractors are willing to assist in disaster recovery efforts. We are confined to the parameters of the derivative defense. Nonetheless, we observe that private contractors, unlike volunteers or conscripts, are paid for their services and able to pass along the cost of liability protection to the government, either by including the cost of liability insurance in their contract or by seeking indemnification from the government."
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