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Thread: A Fallen Hero - Video Inside

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    Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand corners President Obama on 9/11 first responders - and is rewarded

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/poli...r_911_fir.html

    BY Michael Mcauliff
    DAILY NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU
    Thursday, February 4th 2010, 4:00 AM

    WASHINGTON - Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand scored a surprise concession on Wednesday from President Obama in the fight to do right for 9/11 heroes.

    New Yorkers besieged the White House after Obama's Health and Human Services secretary declared last week the administration would not back committing $11 billion in mandatory funding over 30 years for ailing 9/11 first responders.

    But the junior senator cornered Obama in a Q&A he staged with Democratic senators. "Would you, today, commit to working with Congress to pass a comprehensive 9/11 health bill that's fully paid for?" Gillibrand asked.

    "These Americans hail from every one of the 50 states," Gillibrand said. "Some of them are gravely ill, suffering serious health effects. Some are disabled. Some have died."

    Obama's answer cracked the door back open to the possibility that 60,000 people being monitored for 9/11-related illness could now get more long-term federal help.

    "I fully commit to working with you guys," Obama said, admitting he was not entirely familiar with the bill that's been stalled in Congress. "I confess, Kristen, I have not looked at all the details of your legislation," he said, flubbing her name.

    "Everybody here wants to make surethat those who showed such extraordinary courage and heroism during 9/11 ... are fittingly cared for, and that's going to be something that we are going to be very interested in working with you on."

    New York legislators are planning to hold him to it, and were aiming to set up a sitdown with Obama on the legislation, sources confirmed.

    But the President still seemed reluctant to embrace the bill, noting he had already done more than the last White House, doubling funding for treating ill responders to $150 million next year.

    "Keep in mind that our budget already significantly increased funding precisely for this purpose, so I'm not just talking the talk - we've been budgeting this as a top priority," he said.

    Advocates for finally caring for Sept. 11's heroes were cautiously optimistic after a rally at Ground Zero yesterday demanding the White House listen.

    "The fact that we have his attention and that it is now in his dialogue is a good thing," said John Feal, who set up the rally with responders and widows whose husbands have died since 9/11.

    Obama's talk with Democrats didn't just offer Gillibrand a chance to shine. Other endangered senators got to ask questions, too, but the White House insisted the give-and-take wasn't scripted.

    Obama warned his Senate allies against becoming timid after losing their 60-vote majority. "If anybody is searching for a lesson from Massachusetts," he said, "I promise you the answer is not to do nothing."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    9/11 health advocates press Obama on campaign promise

    http://www.downtownexpress.com/de_354/911health.html

    By Julie Shapiro
    2/5/2010

    President Barack Obama inched back toward neutral ground on the 9/11 health bill Wednesday, but he still would not commit to supporting it.

    The Obama administration’s opposition of the bill last week and Obama’s vague comments Wednesday came in stark contrast to a promise his campaign made to Downtown Express in 2008.

    One month before Obama was elected, Blake Zeff, Obama’s New York communications director, told Downtown Express unequivocally that Obama supported the House of Representatives’ 9/11 health bill.

    “Yes, Obama does support the bill,” Zeff wrote in an e-mail on Oct. 2, 2008. Downtown Express was the first and likely the only news organization to report on Obama’s position before the election.

    The bills now under consideration in the House and Senate are slightly different than the ’08 version, but the fundamentals are the same.

    Since ’08, Obama had not said much publicly about the $11 billion bill. Conventional wisdom was that Obama would not move on the 9/11 health bill until he got his broader healthcare bill passed, but local elected officials did not doubt Obama’s support.

    But then last Thursday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius surprised New York’s Congressional delegation by saying that the administration would not back the 9/11 health bill because it has an open-ended funding mechanism, promising to meet the needs of all those who are sick. The bill would reopen the 9/11 victims’ compensation fund, providing free healthcare to first responders and Lower Manhattan residents, students and office workers who can demonstrate that their illnesses were caused by their exposure to toxic chemicals and dust on 9/11. The ’08 version of the bill, which Obama supported during the campaign, had the same funding mechanism as the current bill.

    New York’s delegation, including Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler, criticized the Obama administration for reversing its position on the bill, and local community health activists followed suit.

    “The take-away message is: If there’s a terrorist attack in your neighborhood…you will not be taken care of,” said Catherine McVay Hughes, vice chairperson of Community Board 1.

    “It sent a shockwave through all of the groups working on this issue,” added Kimberly Flynn, head of 9/11 Environmental Action. “People are feeling totally betrayed.”

    Obama quickly stepped in and doubled next year’s federal allocation for 9/11 health to $150 million, but Hughes and others said the funding boost was not enough. The health advocates want a guaranteed stream of money for those who are sick, so they do not have to fight for funding every year and gamble on a sympathetic Congress and president.

    On Wednesday, Gillibrand took the opportunity to directly question Obama about the health bill when he met with Democratic senators.

    Obama replied that he was committed to working with Gillibrand on the 9/11 health issues.

    “I’m not just talking the talk,” Obama said, according to a White House transcript. “We’ve been budgeting this as a top priority for the administration.”

    However, Obama also confessed that he had not read the legislation, and it was not clear whether his comments referred only to first responders or to Lower Manhattan residents, students and office workers as well.

    Obama has taken a personal role in Gillibrand’s reelection campaign, persuading at least one potential Democratic primary opponent not to join the race. Gillibrand did not press Obama on the 9/11 health bill after his general response, according to the transcript.

    Moira Mack, a White House spokesperson, added in an e-mailed statement to Downtown Express that the president “remains fully committed to ensuring that our rescue and recovery workers, residents, students and others suffering the health consequences related to the World Trade Center disaster get the health care and monitoring they need.”

    Before the 9/11 health issues sprang back into the limelight last Thurs., Jan. 28, local activists met with Maloney’s staff on Jan. 27. They were concerned that the community portion of the health bill could disappear during negotiations.

    “Nine-eleven was like a war, and I look at the whole community like victims of war that have to be protected,” said Marilena Christodoulou, who was president of Stuyvesant High School’s parent association on 9/11. Christodoulou told Maloney’s office that many children developed respiratory problems when Stuyvesant reopened in October 2001, with the fires at ground zero still burning. She said about a dozen former Stuyvesant students and teachers now have cancer.

    Spokespersons for Maloney and Nadler said this week that the Congressmembers would fight for the community allocations to stay in the bill. But some activists are still worried, especially after Maloney issued a statement this week that referred only to first responders.

    The absence of guaranteed federal funding can be a problem for the groups that rely on that money to treat 9/11 patients.

    “It makes everything more of a challenge,” said Terry Miles, executive director of the W.T.C. Environmental Health Center.

    Without a steady funding stream, it is harder to attract and retain staff, he said. The center, based at Bellevue Hospital with two satellites, has treated 4,500 residents, students and office workers, many of whom have respiratory illnesses.

    Miles was glad Obama had allocated $150 million to 9/11 health for 2011, though he was not sure how much the Bellevue program could receive. He was also glad to hear of Obama’s more neutral comments on the 9/11 health legislation on Wednesday.

    “This is one more reason to feel encouraged,” he said.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    Future of 9/11 Health Bill Still Uncertain

    http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/content/view/29075/

    By Joshua Philipp
    Epoch Times Staff
    2/4/2010

    NEW YORK—The 9/11 Health and Compensation Act still has not been looked at in detail by Obama, the president admitted on Feb. 3. He then added that the administration is “interested in working” in assuring that those whose health was affected by the attacks are properly cared for, yet did not say whether the bill would be passed.

    The $11 billion bill would ensure health care coverage over the next 30 years for all people who contracted illnesses working at Ground Zero. It would also provide compensation to families who lost loved ones in the attack.

    The bill is still floating in the House and Senate.

    During a meeting with Democratic senators on Wednesday morning, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand asked Obama whether he would pass a “comprehensive 9/11 health bill that’s fully paid for.”

    Obama responded by pointing out that his administration has more than doubled the funds for treatment of 9/11 victims by providing $150 million over the next year. He then added that he has “not looked at all the details” of the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.

    Obama added, “But everybody here wants to make sure that those who showed such extraordinary courage and heroism during 9/11, that they are fittingly cared for and that’s going to be something that we are going to be very interested in working with you on,” according to NY Daily News.

    Following the attacks on the World Trade Center, a cloud of dust and smoke reached more than 1,000 feet high and engulfed Lower Manhattan. Wind then carried the cloud of asbestos, cement, and a cocktail of other materials south into Brooklyn and Staten Island.

    The aftermath of the attacks was a disaster in itself, and emergency responders, cleanup and recovery teams, and even pedestrians were affected. More than 400,000 people are believed to have been exposed to the toxins. Close to 16,000 responders and 2,700 others are currently sick and receiving treatment.

    Another 40,000 responders are being monitored for health problems, and 71,000 people are enrolled in the WTC Health Registry.

    Among the victims is John Feal, president and founder of the FealGood Foundation which is working to get health care for 9/11 victims. He was part of the clean up and was one of the recovery workers at Ground Zero the day after the attacks. While working, his left foot was crushed by an 8,000 pound piece of steel, which put him in the hospital for 11 weeks.

    “But I was lucky,” said Feal “I got hurt, I didn’t get sick.”

    At the same time Obama made his statement in Washington on Wednesday, Feal and other victims of 9/11 were holding a press conference in Manhattan. They were protesting a previous statement made by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that the administration does not support the bill.

    Although Obama did not say the bill would be passed, Feal said he is still hopeful.

    “I think he’s wavering,” said Feal. “I believe the president is going to do the right thing.”

    Obama sent Feal a letter in Nov. 2009, saying that he supports providing health care to the responders. Feal said he believes “the last administration let us down,” and hopes the current one does not do the same.

    Feal added, “I got half a foot, one kidney, and I’m on disability. If I can help them, the President should too.”
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    Tensions erupt around 9/11 responders bill

    http://nyunews.com/news/2010/02/07/8wtc/

    by Jaywon Choe
    Published February 8, 2010

    Sept. 11 responders and government agencies may finally have reached a settlement to avoid a May 16 court date.

    Judge Alvin Hellerstein, who is presiding over the case, said at a Jan. 21 hearing that settlements for individual cases as well as class actions suits are possible.

    Lawsuits have been brought against nearly 100 government agencies by more than 9,000 Sept. 11 responders, suing over injuries and illnesses they claim to have sustained during their rescue and relief efforts.

    Many believe that resolutions would come as good news to relief workers who require immediate relief, but others believe that these are only short-term solutions.

    John Feal, founder and president of the FealGood Foundation, said that while these lawsuits will help rescuers in need of assistance, the bigger goal is to pass House Resolution 847, which will provide $5.5 billion in monetary compensation, as well as health insurance, to eligible responders.

    "If you took 9,000 people across the board on a billion dollars, each person is going to get about $200,000," Feal said. "But with the bill, you're getting five and a half billion dollars in compensation to go around."

    Feal also stressed that the bill would provide health insurance to responders over the next 30 years, guaranteeing more security.

    "While I think David Worby, Mark Burns and Paul Napoli have done a great job fighting litigation for 9/11 responders, it's my opinion that the bill, which provides health care over the next 30 years is a better avenue," he said.

    The first half of the bill, which is the compensatory element, was passed in June 2008. The second half, which features the health insurance portion, is awaiting the Energy and Commerce subcommittee's approval. Feal hopes that the bill will be up for vote by the end of March or early April.

    President Barack Obama initially expressed hesitation over the bill. He acknowledged the heroism of the responders, but said that he was in opposition to the bill. But after a press conference and rally organized by the FealGood Foundation, the president said he would review the bill.

    Feal is certain that Obama will change his stance. "I'm confident that this bill is going to get marked up and that the President won't even think about vetoing this bill."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    The Disgraceful Treatment of 9/11 First Responders
    The city should do the right thing

    http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local...-83601322.html

    By GABE PRESSMAN
    Updated 7:49 AM EST, Fri, Feb 5, 2010

    A federal judge reports that the plaintiffs in the lawsuits by first responders to the World Trade Center may be getting closer to a settlement.

    It’s been eight and a half years since thousands of fire fighters, police officers and other city workers and volunteers rushed to the site, and clawed through the rubble in search of possible survivors and remains of the victims of the terrorist attack.

    Lawyers for both the plaintiffs and the city have been dueling in court. And there have been many delays.

    That it’s taken this long is a disgrace. Some of these first responders suffered major injuries or illnesses. Hundreds have died already.

    But now Federal Judge Alvin Hellerstein, monitoring the case, reports: “There have been intensive discussions going on looking to settlements of individual cases and globally of all cases.” He says the parties have worked hard and that the settlement is “complicated.”

    The plaintiffs -- more than 9,000 of them -- claim the city, its contractors and other major defendants, including the Port Authority, had inadequate safety procedures and supervision.

    Now, a draft settlement has reportedly been agreed upon.

    John Feal, a demolition expert, lost half his left foot when a steel beam fell on it as he worked in the rubble. He became a major advocate for first responders. He told me: “It’s an insult to those who have suffered much more than I that it’s taken so long to get any compensation for them.”

    In the wake of 9/11 many first responders have developed respiratory illnesses. As the Times reports, some legal experts believe the cases have been made more complicated by the fact that the collapse of the towers “created an unfamiliar toxic soup from the dust and fumes.”

    A Cardozo law school professor, Anthony Sebok, told me it will be “difficult” to prove that what happened actually caused these respiratory ailments. He says, because of the complexity and number of cases, some kind of “rough justice” might have to be found, possibly a compromise solution to the thousands of cases.

    I spoke to Glen Klein, a former NYPD emergency service officer from Centereach, Long Island. He says his respiratory and gastrointestinal problems were caused by the hundreds of hours he spent on recovery at ground zero.

    “I wake up every day scared to death that I may have some fatal disease like cancer,” he says. “And yet I’m still better off than some of the construction workers and others who don’t get any benefits. Some people have lost their homes. Marriages have broken up.

    “I hope we’re getting close to a settlement, for the sake especially of those people who have suffered more than me."

    No matter how the law suits are finally settled, it’s time that President Obama took strong action in support of the first responders. He could endorse the bill that’s been lying around in Congress for four years. This legislation would provide decent health care and compensation for these aggrieved people for years to come.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    9/11 Health bill loses long term support

    http://www.queenscourier.com/article...0852408577.txt

    BY CLAUDIA CRUZ
    Tuesday, February 9, 2010 2:42 PM EST

    The healthcare of first responders, volunteers, and recovery and clean-up workers after the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, suffered a setback when the Obama administration stated it would not guarantee any long-term funding for their medical monitoring and treatment programs.

    In a January 27 meeting between the New York Congressional delegation and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Sebelius informed the delegation that the administration could not support the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2009 – introduced by Representative Carolyn Maloney – due to the bill’s provisions that would require mandatory annual spending on federal 9/11 health programs.

    Instead, the administration offered – on February 1, 2010 – to double the 2011 budget to $150 million from the current $70 million allotted for this year. Currently, the medical monitoring and treatment programs are funded through discretionary spending, which needs to be renewed and approved annually by Congress.

    “Good news for one year isn’t enough to allay the fears of families of these 9/11 heroes that they could be bankrupted by health costs five or 15 years down the road,” said Maloney in a statement to the press. “The doubling of funding only proves the point for those of us who have been saying for years that the health needs of responders should not be subject to the whims of who is in power in Washington.”

    Statistics from the National Institutes for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) show that as of March 31, 2009, more than 51,000 World Trade Center (WTC) responders nationwide have met eligibility and have enrolled in the medical monitoring and treatment programs, according to Fred Blosser, a NIOSH spokesperson. NIOSH created the criteria of 9/11 health related ailments, which include asthma, chronic cough syndrome, sleep apnea, chronic rhinosinusitus, gastroesophageal reflux disorder, post traumatic stress disorder and depression, among others.

    The Zadroga bill would have provided a mechanism for the continuous funding of the WTC monitoring and treatment programs with a payment rate based on federal compensation systems like Black Lung disease, energy workers and members of Congress. However, the workers’ compensation, public and private insurance plans would be the primary payers.

    “The responders’ health must be monitored closely, so that early detection gives them a real chance against the serious long-term illnesses caused by working at Ground Zero,” said Maloney. “For my part, I will be asking for a meeting with the President to explain those needs more clearly – because I expect he will agree with us and overrule his staff.”
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    Years later, 9/11 dust, fumes cause headaches: study

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp...cSbaqQptjDIsRg

    (AFP) – 1 day ago

    WASHINGTON — Exposure to dust and fumes caused by the collapse of the World Trade Center during the September 11, 2001 attacks can cause headaches years later, according to a study released Wednesday.

    "We knew that headaches were common in people living and working near the World Trade Center on and immediately after 9/11, but this is the first study to look at headaches several years after the event," said study author Sara Crystal of the New York University School of Medicine.

    The study involved 765 people who were enrolled in the Bellevue Hospital World Trade Center Environmental Health Center seven years after the building collapse and who did not have headaches prior to the 2001 attacks.

    About 55 percent of the participants reported having exposure to the initial World Trade Center dust cloud.

    Forty-three percent of those surveyed said they had headaches in the four weeks prior to enrolling in the study, and people caught in the initial dust cloud were slightly more likely to report headaches than those who were not.

    People with headaches were also more likely to experience wheezing, breathlessness during exercise, nasal drip or sinus congestion and reflux disease after 9/11.

    "More research needs to be done on the possible longer-term effects of exposure to gasses and dust when the World Trade Center fell," Crystal said.

    "We also need additional studies to understand the relationship between headaches, other physical symptoms, and mental health issues."

    The full study will be released at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting in Toronto in April.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    Lawyers for 9/11 responders defend firm's conduct

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/...DQjuwD9DQQJ080

    By DAVID B. CARUSO (AP) – 2 days ago

    NEW YORK — The lead lawyer for thousands of Sept. 11 rescue and recovery workers has acknowledged that in preparing some claims, his firm made mistakes — including assertions that people had cancer when they didn't.

    But the attorney, Paul Napoli, said the errors all occurred at preliminary stages of the case, are being corrected and won't have any bearing on the outcome. He characterized the mistakes as few and accidental, caused by a crushing workload and a rush to meet court deadlines.

    "We are not trying to pull the wool over anyone's eyes," Napoli said in an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday.

    Napoli's firm, Worby Groner Edelman & Napoli Bern, is coordinating lawsuits filed by more than 9,000 police officers, firefighters and construction workers who say New York City and its contractors failed to protect them from toxic World Trade Center ash.

    The AP reported Sunday that some of the first cases headed toward trial in the long legal battle contained inconsistent or exaggerated information about worker health problems or the time they spent at ground zero.

    One of the cases examined by the AP involved a New York City police sergeant who sued over breathing difficulties but was later incorrectly listed by her legal team as having lung cancer.

    Another police officer from northern New Jersey was listed in a court filing as having worked 300 days at ground zero, when work records suggested that any time he spent at the site was more limited.

    After the story ran, the head of an association of retired fire department medics told the AP the firm had also misclassified her illness, and the illnesses of other workers, because of sloppy record keeping.

    Marianne Pizzitola, the president of the FDNY EMS Retirees Association, said she developed a mild respiratory ailment because of her work at ground zero, but the law firm asked her to sign legal papers saying she has brain and blood cancers. She said other association members had come forward with similar complaints.

    Napoli criticized the AP's report as "nitpicking."

    He said some of the information given to the court early on in the case was "filed in a rush" to beat tight deadlines.

    "Are there some mistakes? Yes. But whenever anyone does everything, there are mistakes," he said.

    One of Napoli's partners, William Groner, said the firm has hired teams of nurses and spent millions of dollars verifying medical records.

    "I'm extremely confident that the overwhelming amount of data that has been provided to the court is accurate," he said. "However, we have numerous procedures in place to ensure that inaccuracies are found and corrected as soon as possible."

    The firm has spent years collecting medical files and entering the information into a database the court is using to categorize plaintiffs and manage the case.

    Simultaneously, the team is trying to negotiate a settlement and prepare for trials set to start in May.

    The accuracy of the firm's records on client injuries could wind up playing a major part in any settlement, as it would likely help determine how much each plaintiff gets paid.

    Pizzitola, whose association has about 120 members, said she worries that any errors in those files could either derail legitimate claims or be misinterpreted by the public as emergency responders lying about their illnesses.

    "I don't want that to be the perception," she said. "I don't think it's the people. I think it's the firm. I think they are overworked and understaffed."

    She said her lawyers ultimately corrected her records, but only after she threatened to drop out of the suit. Months after her first complaint, she said she logged on to a database maintained by the firm and found it still listed her as having cancer.

    "I was furious," she said of the ordeal, adding that the false cancer diagnosis wasn't the only mistake in her file. "They had me seeing doctors I don't even know."

    Ray Simons, an EMT who retired after he was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, said the firm asked him to sign a case history that said he had liver cancer. Simons, 59, said he has liver cysts, but they are not cancerous.

    "To make the leap immediately to cancer is ridiculous," he said

    Napoli said both those instances actually show a strength in the law firm's system.

    "We are sending the stuff and asking, Is this correct? That's the whole reason we do it," he said.

    "When clients say, you've got this wrong, that's a good thing," he added.

    It ensures, he said, that the evidence ultimately provided to the court is accurate when it matters most: at settlement or trial. Everything up to that point, he said, is just "part of the process."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    NY questions health claims of some 9/11 responders

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/...DQjuwD9DU6OS00

    By DAVID B. CARUSO (AP) – 1 day ago

    NEW YORK — Lawyers defending New York City against thousands of lawsuits filed by Sept. 11 emergency responders say many of the claims are baseless and have asked a judge to dismiss some of the first cases headed toward trial.

    In a series of court filings late Tuesday, the city's legal team detailed several instances in which it said people who claimed to have been sickened by World Trade Center ash were already ill before the attacks.

    One former Fire Department battalion chief who attributed respiratory problems to the dust had been granted a disability pension for the same type of breathing ailments in 1999, the city said.

    A 400-pound utility worker who said he developed shortness of breath and other health problems after being deployed to ground zero had breathing problems diagnosed before 2001, the city said.

    City lawyers also cited the case of a Staten Island construction worker who blamed a litany of health ailments on exposure to ground zero dust, even though he had previously filed a medical malpractice case blaming some of the same problems on a chronic gastrointestinal disease he'd had since the 1990s.

    The city asked the judge presiding over the case to dismiss 17 suits on a variety of grounds.

    Paul Napoli, the lead lawyer for more than 9,000 police officers, firefighters, construction laborers and other ground zero workers, dismissed the city's motions as posturing.

    "He thinks these guys should go home and get no money," Napoli said of James Tyrrell, lead attorney for the city. "He does not think much of police officers or firefighters."

    He predicted that some of the same cases criticized by the city as "baseless" would be embraced by jurors as compelling.

    Tyrrell accused Napoli of repeatedly making "slipshod" filings that misstated how much time workers spent at ground zero or the severity of their illnesses, with few specifics on how the city was to blame.

    "On the eve of trial, the time for boilerplate allegations — and for more excuses — has run out," Tyrrell wrote.

    The Associated Press conducted its own review of some of the first cases headed toward trial in the legal battle and reported Feb. 7 that some contained inconsistent information about worker health problems or the time they spent at ground zero. Napoli called that investigation "misinformed."

    Napoli's firm has been locked in a lengthy legal battle with the city and ground zero construction contractors over the health of workers who spent time at the trade center site.

    They are arguing that thousands of workers were sent into toxic conditions without proper gear and are now sick with a variety of cancers and respiratory problems.

    U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein has adopted a strategy of selecting just a small number of cases for trials, with the intention of using those initial court battles to craft a settlement for the rest.

    The initially picked 30 cases for trial, but that number is now being whittled to 12.

    The city's filings Tuesday illustrate how difficult it might be for some of the plaintiffs to link their illnesses to service at ground zero.

    Several of the cases involved people with limited exposure to trade center dust, including Consolidated Edison workers like Robert Galvani.

    Galvani's lawyers had initially claimed that he was "never provided a respirator of any kind" when he was deployed to help repair the electrical grid in lower Manhattan after the attacks.

    But in a deposition, Galvani said that was false. Every Con Ed worker, he said, was fitted with a full-face respirator with filters, cleaning pads, booties and gloves before they were allowed anywhere near the trade center site. He said he wore his respirator religiously.

    The city also said Galvani weighed "between 400 and 450 pounds" at the time of the attacks, and had sleep apnea, hypertension, respiratory problems and diabetes diagnosed prior to 2001.

    City lawyers also questioned the health claims of a former Fire Department battalion chief, Richard Ardisson.

    In his suit filed in 2005, Ardisson blamed trade center dust for ailments including asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory problems.

    But the city said those conditions predated 9/11.

    In fact, Ardisson retired from the Fire Department on a $110,000-per-year disability pension in 1999 after he performed poorly on a lung function test and was found to have severe bronchial asthma and obstructive airway disease.

    Napoli and other lawyers working for the plaintiffs said they didn't have the details of Tuesday's individual cases at their fingertips, but said research has shown that some 9/11 responders with pre-existing asthma and other health problems saw their conditions worsen substantially as a result of exposure to trade center dust.

    He said it should be left for a jury to decide the facts of each case.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    As Ground Zero cases go to trial, respirator rule is revealed

    http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/..._revealed.html

    BY Alison Gendar
    DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
    Sunday, February 28th 2010, 4:00 AM

    A lawyer in two Ground Zero sickness cases green-lighted for trial says he has a smoking gun: buried city documents that prove firefighters should have gotten respirators.

    The papers emerged in a veritable mountain of files the city turned over to workers who believe they were sickened by toxins after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

    Lawyer Andrew Carboy, whose firm represents more than 600 firefighters, said the FDNY had rules on the book requiring Bravest be equipped with respirators before Sept. 11.

    But memos showing that weren't handed over until this summer - in a data dump of 3 million documents - five years after the legal battle began. "They provide everyone with helmets, with bunker gear, with [air] packs. They could have done the same with respirators, and they withheld the documents saying they had a program to do it," Carboy said.

    Carboy's firm represents Firefighters Frank Malone and the late Raymond Hauber, whose cases are among a dozen picked to go to trial, starting in May.

    Four were chosen from more than 9,000 by a federal judge, four by the city, and four by plaintiffs' lawyers. More than $1 billion in damages hinge on the outcome.

    To show the city is liable, Carboy plans to wield memos about the FDNY's "respiratory protection program," which was supposed to provide respirators for "reasonably foreseeable emergency situations" like building collapses.

    The FDNY didn't follow its own guidelines and had only 600 respirators for more than 11,200 uniformed members when the twin towers fell Sept. 11, Carboy said.

    A 2003 FDNY memo called for the head of safety and health for the department, Tennyson Headley, to be canned in part because of the dysfunctional respirator program. But Headley is still on the FDNY payroll.

    In a Feb. 5 deposition, he admitted he didn't know the FDNY had a program until well after 9/11, or that he was responsible for making sure firefighters were trained to use the masks.

    The city's lawyers deny the memo was hidden, saying documents about the program were "irrelevant" because a separate respirator policy was created for Ground Zero after the attacks.

    On Sept. 11, the FDNY ordered 5,000 respirators for $20 to $25 each, court documents say.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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