Thursday, May 24, 2007
Today's New York Times reports that the New York medical examiner has officially listed dust from the Twin Towers as a "contributory cause" of the death of a civil rights lawyer who was engulfed in clouds of dust as she ran from her office one block from the trade center.
This finding could have potential relevance in the pending 9/11 litigation against New York City. Over 8,000 firemen, police officers, rescue workers, sanitation workers, and construction workers have filed suit in NY district court against New York City for respiratory illnesses allegedly caused by exposure to 9/11 dust.
In a two-part Findlaw series last March and April, Tony Sebok examined New York's efforts to reopen the 9/11 Fund to compensate these plaintiffs. In Part I, Sebok discussed the background of the 9/11 Fund, and the respiratory illness suits against New York City. In Part II, Sebok argued that the liability cap imposed by the 9/11 Fund statute could be unconstitutional as applied to the the respiratory plaintiffs. Sebok then addressed the secondary question: Should Congress reopen the 9/11 fund to compensate the respiratory plaintiffs? Sebok examined both the legal and emotional issues raised by this question, reluctantly concluding that the answer is "no."