World Trade Center Settlement Gets Backing Needed to Take Effect
– New York Law Journal
(November 22, 2010) Enough plaintiffs have accepted a massive settlement of claims alleging respiratory and other health problems from the post-9/11 response and cleanup at the World Trade Center site to seal the deal. Read more…
10,563 Ground Zero 9/11 Workers Agree On $625 Million Settlement
– Medical News Today
(November 21, 2010) 10,563 ground zero workers who inhaled toxic dust and risked health consequences have agreed on a $625 settlement and ceased suing - the amount could go as high as $815 million.
9/11 Health Deal Gets OK
– The Wall Street Journal
(November 20, 2010) More than 95% of Ground Zero workers agreed to accept a settlement of long-running litigation over respiratory diseases and other injuries suffered in recovery operations following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack.
Deal settles most lawsuits over WTC toxic dust
– The Associated Press (AP)
(November 19, 2010) A deal reached by New York City and workers exposed to toxic dust that blanketed ground zero after Sept. 11 will resolve an overwhelming majority of the lawsuits over the city's failure to provide protective equipment to the responders. Read more…
Ground Zero workers exposed to toxic dust take pay deal
(November 19, 2010) Thousands of workers exposed to toxic dust after the 2001 terror attacks in New York have accepted a legal settlement and ceased litigation. Read more…
Lawyers: Sickened 9/11 Workers Reach Settlement Deal With City
(November 19, 2010) By Friday, more than 10,000 people who became ill from working conditions at the World Trade Center site following the September 11th terrorist attacks had accepted a settlement deal with the city. Read more…
According to a three year study conducted by the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, 70% of the rescue workers at Ground Zero and the Staten Island Landfill have developed lung disorders or some other type of respiratory illness following their exposure to cement, glass and toxins as they rummaged through the WTC rubble looking for survivors. These and other health problems continue to show up in the firefighters, construction workers and police officers that worked as part of the rescue attempts and cleanup efforts that took place after the 9/11 attacks.
Andrew Porazzo of Staten Island was one of those workers. He worked as an electrician amongst the rubble of the WTC towers helping to build a temporary city for workers that were sifting through the remains. He remembers that day very clearly. Porazzo checked his daughter and teenage son out of school and then reported to Ground Zero as a volunteer. He was assigned to the Staten Island Landfill where he worked on the temporary city. At this location, workers sifted through the WTC debris looking for any and all possible evidence and even body parts.
Porazzo remembers the trucks and barges that were continually dumping loads of debris to be examined. He describes the air that he worked in as sparkling with tiny particles floating in the air throughout the entire time of his assignment. His working environment amidst the dust and toxins created a problems for his lungs. Little did he know that these particles in the air contained pulverized concrete, asbestos and tiny slivers of glass. There were some individuals that were walking around with protective gear, but Porazzo recalls that the people who were actually working in the dust were not offered any type of mask or breathing protection. His lungs are now scarred from the damage that these toxins did when they were breathed in. In addition, he depends upon medication that costs about $200 a month to assist him with his breathing. Porazzo has never had to be on medication before 9/11 and because of this he is now unable to work.
After working at Staten Island for about a month, he was unable to continue because of symptoms he was developing. Porazzo begin suffering from sore throat, lung spasms, shortness of breath, watery eyes and acid reflux. Shortly thereafter, he also began suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Porazzo feels lucky to have good health insurance and worker’s compensation but his income was at one time double what it is now and this makes things difficult at times.
Porazzo visits the doctor every week, sometimes twice a week and this involves a two hour round trip to receive regular medical treatment. Despite the difficulties and challenges that he deals with even years later, he does not regret working as a volunteer for the 9/11 attacks. His feelings of patriotism for this endeavor will never be forgotten.
Firefighter Lt. Martin Fullam, a client of Napoli Bern Ripka, LLP, is breathing easier now as he finally received a new lung after being diagnosed with polymyositis and pulmonary fibrosis in 2005. It was almost four years after his heroic acts on Sept. 11th 2001, that he started seeing his symptoms. Now Fullam is off of oxygen for the first time in three years and is in great spirits. Fullam is a 27-year veteran fire fighter and although he can now walk on his own he is still very weak from the surgery and his condition. Fullam was off on September 11th, 2001 but took it upon himself and thousands of other fire fighters to do all that they could to help with the attacks on the word trade center. Fullam truly made heroic moves that monumental day as he dove into the debris to try to help and save anyone that he could possibly find. Fullam then spent the next 6 months working in the debris of the world trade center trying to help find people as well as sift through the remains and rubble. It has been reported that, “Doctors cannot absolutely prove that the fire lieutenant's lung disease is a direct result of working in the contaminant-filled air of ground zero following the terrorist attack.” However, working and remaining in the debris for the better part of a year did not help his condition. Although Fullam does not know when he will be able to work again, his is currently getting disability benefits from his long time stint as a New York City Firefighter.
This is just one example of a heroic act finally receiving the medical attention that is much needed and deserved. It took a lot of effort for Fullam to receive the benefits and coverage of costs for him to be able to receive the surgery. There are so many other WTC firefighters, policemen, and debris clean up workers that are also suffering from the adverse effects of working at the WTC site. People took it into their own hands to be there for the city of New York, and yet it seems that the city is not completely there for them when they need it. Whether it is in regards to medical expense incurred from working at the very hazardous WTC site or from the physical toll it took on their bodies. WTC workers that were injured in the acts of doing their jobs are finding it rather difficult to receive the medical attention that they need and deserve from the state. The WTC Captive Fund that was set up to cover the medical expenses for those who got injured at the WTC site are finding it rather difficult to gain any of this money. It seems that the Fund is getting exhausted paying for lawyers and administration on the other side of the incident. If you or a loved one was injured from working at the WTC site, please contact our WTC lawyers and Napoli Bern Ripka, LLP.
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Seven years after the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center, a Manhattan federal judge set the first trial date for lawsuits that were filed by the WTC rescue and recovery workers that claimed they got sick from the aftermath air of the WTC 9/11 attacks. Judge Alvin Hellerstein set the trial dates to begin May 17, 2010 and will begin with only a few of those workers that are the sickest. This represents only about 30 cases in comparison to the over 9,000 cases that were filed. Among the claims filed were over 200 defendants with some 387 illnesses and diseases reported. Defendants include firefighters, construction workers and police officers that suffered injuries from toxic smoke and crumbling rubble. Hellerstein explained that the first trial date was given to those with first priority, the WTC cleanup and recovery crews that were injured the worst in the cleanup. Hellerstein stated that they had the most need for monetary recovery.
Hellerstein expressed belief in the fact that favorable verdicts and settlements in these first 30 cases will pave the way for hundreds of other cases to reach out of court settlements and thereby avoid having to wait years for their respective court trials. These initial trials will help answer the complicated questions as to whether or not the defendant’s exposure to Ground Zero conditions caused their illnesses. Another question that will hopefully be answered with these trials is whether or not New York City and their contractors for the WTC can share some of the blame when it comes to rescue worker protection and safety.
As to whether or not there will be any funds to pay for these lawsuit settlements, only time will tell. Congress gave the city of New York $1 billion to pay for rescue and cleanup worker claims. However, $191 million has already been spent by legal and other costs. In addition, reports have been surfacing that $14 million of that fund was recently lost in bond investments.
At a previous hearing, Hellerstein said that he preferred to keep secret over a million pages of 9/11 documents. Families of 9/11 victims have been trying to create a public record of the security lapses that allowed the WTC attacks. He explained that his first goal was to set these trial dates for the families who rejected the money from the federal Victims' Compensation Fund. He decided not to rule on the motion to lift the order that presently keeps these documents secret.
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Due to the recent happenings on Wall Street many are speculating whether this crisis is going to affect the 9/11 memorial from being completed. A lot of factors are going to be weighed but it is mostly going to come down to whether the funding can be found. For the 9/11 memorial to be completed on its anticipated date on the 10th anniversary of the attacked, another $25 out of the proposed $75 million dollars still needs to be found. This is a significant amount of money especially when our country is currently undergoing this economic crisis. Many people are worried as to whether the recent events are going to freeze the plans to finish the memorial. Bloomberg has assured us that it will be completed, however it is going to be a struggle, but a struggle that is worth being endured.
In order for the remaining $25 million to be raised, much is riding as to whether the economic crisis is going to have an effect on the ability to raise capital. Of course this crisis had put some challenges on the ability to collect funding, however officials are being optimistic. They know it is going to be a struggle, but they are determined to make it work. Since the project is already behind schedule and over budget, officials do not want any more barricades in place in which that is exactly what the economic crisis is doing. However if administrators and officials are smart they will use it to an advantage, by proposing to get funding of the bailout is passed.
Not only is the crisis affecting the completion of the memorial about the WTC captive fund? The news surrounding the economic crisis has taken over every single news station in which information about those projects surrounding the problem have been set aside. Will the bailout help or hurt the chances of those who were injured while working on the WTC site? The Workers who were injured while working on the WTC site are still waiting the verdict as to whether they will be able to gain crucial monies needed for their medical expenses and lost wages? This is a very important subject that has many WTC workers up in arms because until a plan is put in place for the bailout, these injured workers are in a stand still as to whether they will ever see any money to cover their medical bills. In order to get answers, we must go directly to the source. However this may prove to be rather difficult due to the crisis and upcoming presidential election are getting the majority of attention.
Completing the 9/11 memorial is something that the masses are looking forward towards, in which completion is crucial for the moral of the nation. We must try to fight through these trying times and prevail by not allowing these important notions to be compromised. Take back NYC and overcome it with integrity and moral on your shoulders.
Now that it has been over seven years ago that the happenings of 9/11 first occurred, people are wondering if their scars are ever going to heal? And when I say people I mean victim’s families, the NYPD, firefighters, those who were in one of the WTC buildings and managed to get out in time & those who didn’t, those who donated, volunteer workers, and the rest of the human race who have been effects by the events. They, we, are the people who are trying to deal with what has happened and determine what we need to do to continue on. Many people are still dealing with grief and many still are outraged. Outraged at the fact that the volunteer working at the WTC site still haven’t seen any funding from the WTC captive fund. Thousands of workers that chose to go to the WTC site after 9/11 to help clean up have been subjected to toxins in the air that have caused severe respiratory complications. The fact of the matter is that over $1 billion dollars was put away into the WTC captive fund to help with aid of the volunteer workers. However most harmed WTC workers have not seen a cent.
It is unfortunate that our economy is the way it is, because do to the current events on Wall Street it is going to be that much harder for these volunteer WTC workers to get the aid that they need. The fact is that these volunteers are now out of work from any type of job because they are not able to go to work because of their injuries from working on the WTC site. Due to last week’s events on Wall Street money that has been set aside by the government is probably going to be put towards the recent bailout. However, where does this leave the people that put their lives on the line for not only the victims of 9/11, but NYC, the State of New York, and the country as a hole? In order for our government to prove that what they put in word is truthful, payouts need to be made to these WTC workers who have suffered.
We are living through trying times from not only the state of the economy, but also do to the uncertainty of the upcoming election. Since the race is so close, the fate of our country is up in the hands of the voters. The difference between the two parties is detrimental which means that the ultimate fate of the country lies in us the voters who must fully understand the politics of each issue and as a whole and make an educated decision based on own principles. For we must put the fate of the country in each other’s hands if we want to succeed first as a country and second as individuals. In order for the WTC captive fund to be distributed to those who need it the most, people must be willing to stand up to those holding the ticket.
Today’s date is 9/11/2008; exactly seven years ago two planes were flown into the World Trade Center in New York City. Exactly seven years ago today, thousands of people lost their lives. Today many people are going to take a time out from their lives and truly reflect on the happenings that occurred seven years ago. Ceremonies around the world are taking place; memorials are filling up with people paying their respects, while our hearts are filling up with the sorrow that once struck us seven years ago today. "Today marks the seventh anniversary of the day our world was broken," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at the start of the ceremony, calling Sept. 11, 2001, a "day that began like any other and ended as none ever has." This statement alone sends chills up my spine as I ponder what our future is going to be like. Seven years ago our world was broken, like Mayor Bloomberg said, however one question looms in my mind, where are we today.
After the attacks seven years ago have we made any strides to prevent happenings like this to occur. Have we followed through with our mission to ensure the safety of our nation? What we have done since the happenings seven years ago is engage in war. Whether right or wrong, this occurrence has also happened contributing to different strives than we might have thought. In the seven years since the attacks have happened where have we made progress, and where have we not. These issues also need to be reflected on so that we see where we have come from and we see where we need to go.
The thousands of volunteers that have helped with the cleanup of the World Trade Center are a large part to where we stand today. The memorial service held at ground service was done to remember those who have lost their lives due to the events that happened on that day. What about those who have suffered after 9/11 due to working conditions on the WTC site. They also put their lives on the line with fellow firemen, policemen, and other braves soles that did everything they could to help. The 7th anniversary of 9/11 remembers all of these people who have helped in any way shape or form. It is also hard to control feelings of frustration, anger, and fear about the entire situation.
You can’t help notice when looking at the WTC site, that it is a long ways off from being done. But on this day it does not matter, all that matters is that we have faith in our country and faith in those who have left us on this day seven years ago. The 7th anniversary of 9/11 is attributed to those who have lost their lives and those who continue to fight. It is up to us as a nation to not forget and keep on keeping on, we at least owe that much to the victims of 9/11.
Firefighters National Trust was a non-profit charity that was set up by Stephen Careaga a volunteer firefighter. When the attacks on 9/11 hit, the online charity grossed over $11 million dollars. Careaga was using this new acquired money to support large salaries, extravagant perks, and fund other companies so that extra money could be tied to a legimitate expense. In doing this Careaga denied the vitctims in which the donations were inteded to be foretrying to make a living selling computer software to Firehouses, in which he used Firefighters National Trust to open doors for him. Firefighters National Trust was created so that people could donate to firefighters online and help out the families and victims who were injured when fighting fires. However everything changed when 9/11 happened because in hours after the attack, large sums of money were being donated to the charity. Millions of dollars were being donated in the proceeding hours after the attacks summing up to a total of $11 million dollars being donated. When Careaga first started the charity he was just using it as a medium to sell computer software, but at the end of September the large sum of cash had piled up.
Firefighters National Trust was committed to give 100% of the donations to firefighters’ who had been injured and to their families to help support them. However, when Careaga had access to millions of dollars his mission changed. Careaga’s promises of donations, scholarships, and money that were supposed to go straight to the families of the victims never did so. Instead, large salaries were being issues, New York City marketing campaigns were being drafted, and luxurious perks were being enjoyed from Careaga and his coworkers.
Careaga had set up various businesses to allegedly pay for their services. But what ended up being true is that he was just basically paying himself for things that never occurred. What kept Careaga and the Firefighters National Trust afloat was just enough donations to genuine causes that made him look legitimate. However what got the best of him was his high paying salaries, failing marketing campaigns, and celebrity endorsements. By 2005, he has lost most of the money that was donated to Firefighters National Trust. "They started on a shoestring with not much idea of how they were going to go about running it. And then all of a sudden, they found themselves with far more money than they had ever been expecting," said Eller, a computer programmer involved in Careaga's software company who later became chairman of the charity's board of directors.”
These types of actions that are committed by non-profit companies are what make people question the entire field. For how is a donator supposed to ensure that the money that they are donating actually reaches its intended purpose. Careaga made false promises and never carried out the intentions that were first stated. People who were injured in the attacks of 9/11 have incurred similar problems from donations. The WTC Captive fund was supposed to provide workers who were injured while working onsite. However, this money is still in jeopardy while workers complications are worsening. If you or a loved on was injured while working on the WTC site and developed complications from the toxins in the air, contact Napoli Bern LLP.
With the new WTC project underway yet again despite current drawbacks, things are finally back on track and making progress. New designs and implementations are underway to provide the city with a magnificent memorial filled with hope and remembrance. The new design is now under way and suspected to be more in tune with the budget and the time schedule. But what hasn’t been paid attention to are the buildings surrounding the WTC project. Goldman Sachs has spent over $2 billion dollars on their new headquarters that is filling up lower Manhattans skyline. The new building is set to have 43 stories with 11,000 employees to fill the space. However, Goldman Sachs has been notoriously known for their discretion in which they were not able to keep up when significant injuries were seen during the construction of the massive building.
It was reported that a crane had dropped 7 tons of metal studs that had severely injured one of their employees. An Architect, Robert Woo with Adamson Associates International, was severely injured leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. This immediately brought attention to the injury and the building for Goldman Sachs had been flying under the radar. Now that the attention has been placed on Goldman Sachs many are going to be following the story very closely. This is in part due to the close proximity Goldman Sachs lies to the new WTC building. So many workers were injured there after the attacks on 9/11 and are still feeling the repercussions. Many WTC workers that worked on the cleanup of the site after the attacks were exposed to toxic fumes that resulted in respiratory complications. Many of these workers have yet to see any compensation for their medical bills that was set away for them in the WTC Captive Fund. And I bet people are going to be keeping a close eye on this injury to see what kind of compensation is going to be awarded. The curiosity is going to be stemming from the fact the both types of injuries occurred on site. The difference is that one is corporately funded the other is funded by the government.
Injuries at both ends of the spectrum are going to occur at all stages of construction; however it will be interesting to see what the difference is in settlements due to the backing of the funding. WTC workers who were injured and cannot afford to support their families because their reimbursement from medical expenses are still being held in the WTC Captive Fund, is unfortunately more common than not. This injury at Goldman Sachs is an unfortunate occurrence in which we must open our eyes to the types of safety standards and regulations that are not being enforced. If you or a loved one has been injured due to being exposed to the toxins at the WTC site, contact Napoli Bern LLP. For they have the experience and knowledge necessary to stand up to the government and other insurance giants that might be holding your compensation.
After the first exhaustive report was done on the 10,000 ground zero workers’ medical records, it implies that the workers are not as sick as they made out to be. The city’s review, found that as many as 30 percent of the workers reported nothing more than common symptoms like runny nose or cough. Their records, according to the review, did not indicate that doctors had ever diagnosed a specific disease. What the lawyers for the city also found was that many documents were incomplete and inconsistent, making it hard to determine when and for how long their illnesses continued.
However, the lawsuit that the city faces is due to claims of firefighters, police officers, construction workers and others who say they became ill because they were not given proper breathing equipment during the nine-month rescue and recovery operation at ground zero. The city is facing a large financial responsibility to the workers if the court deems it necessary. Therefore, it would be in the city’s best interest to play down the claims from the workers to negate their liability.
The workers’ lawyers, William H. Groner, Paul J. Napoli, &David E. Worby, have largely criticized the review stating that it was skewed and largely inaccurate. What the lawyers for the workers are stating is that the city has yet to release a detailed analysis of the claim. The workers did in fact undergo a broad range of illnesses such as respiratory or gastrointestinal sicknesses, but also more serious conditions like cancer, chronic pulmonary disease and sarcoidosis, a lung-scarring disease
Thousands of injured works waiting the decision of the case could not go back to work post 9/11. This is affecting the daily lives of so many that no rock should be unturned. Thousands of lives that fought and saved lives are being set aside, and the city and its contractors could be forced to pay $1 billion or more in compensation if they are found to have been negligent in not ensuring that the workers received breathing masks and wore them
One of the city’s concerns is that there is thousands of missing medical documents. These documents are important to locate so that both sides can come up with a system, known as a severity chart, to classify injuries by type and seriousness.William H. Groner, who with Paul J. Napoli and David E. Worby is representing the workers in court, said so many diseases were listed because of the possibility that they could be linked to the dust. We were trying to protect our clients, because we just didn’t know if they were related," Mr. Groner said in an interview. Mr. Groner accused the city of distorting the true medical condition of the workers, saying that many upper respiratory ailments like runny nose can be symptoms of or precursors to debilitating lower respiratory problems and obstructive lung diseases.
The thousands of ground zero workers have been out of work and injured for nearly seven years and have yet to see a light at the tunnel. The city questioning 9/11 workers’ illnesses is like a knife in the back. Yes, we know that up to a billion dollars is going to be rewarded however. what many seem to overlook is that workers are showing minor symptoms now that may result in worse conditions in the future. Therefore it is the workers right to see their case in court. Napoli Bern Ripka supports 911 rescue workers that have experienced medical problems due to their working conditions and have yet to be compensated for it. Napoli Bern Ripka is doing everything they can to get the compensation for the rescue workers, and encourages people to participate in the Journey for 911. If you are a 911 rescue worker who is still waiting for compensation for medical bills, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
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