Closing Arguments in Case Against the Former Head of the EPA

By Fred Mogul

NEW YORK, NY December 10, 2007 —A federal appeals court heard arguments today about whether former Environmental Protection Agency head Christine Todd Whitman can be sued for her actions following the World Trade Center Attacks. WNYC’s Fred Mogul has more.

A lower court ruled that Whitman’s statements about post-9/11 air quality were quote,“conscience-shocking,” and amounted to her violating the due-process rights of residents, office workers and students in Lower Manhattan. The appeals panel, however, questioned the legal claim, with Judge Jon Newman asking one of the lawyers, “Even if you’re right, how does the head of an agency become liable to pay damages?” Plaintiffs Attorney Sherrie Savett said a high-level official should be as liable as a police officer in a brutality claim.

When Newman pointed out there was no precedent for an official being held liable in a large class-action suit, Savett said there was no precedent similar to 9/11. For WNYC, I’m Fred Mogul.