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Thursday, August 14, 2014

WTC cleanup workers may renew health claims -U.S. appeals court

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A federal appeals court in New York has revived claims by 211 cleanup workers who sought compensation for their alleged exposure to toxic contaminants in buildings near the World Trade Center site after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday said a lower court judge erred in dismissing the claims, after the workers had answered "none" when asked if they had been "diagnosed" with ailments, injuries or diseases.
These workers were employed by cleaning companies hired by Verizon Communications Inc, Brookfield Properties and dozens of other owners of downtown Manhattan buildings damaged or destroyed in the attacks, the court said.
"The fact that plaintiffs answered 'none' to the interrogatory was an insufficient basis, by itself, for a blanket conclusion that all 211 plaintiffs could not establish their claims against defendants as a matter of law," Circuit Judge Denny Chin wrote for a three-judge 2nd Circuit panel.
Thursday's decision overturned an August 2012 dismissal of the claims by U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in Manhattan, who oversees much of the Sept. 11 litigation.
Verizon spokesman Bob Varettoni had no immediate comment. Lawyers for the phone company and the other defendants did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
"I applaud the 2nd Circuit for having the ability and desire to do the right thing," Marc Bern, a lawyer for the workers, said in...
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