Cyrus Dugger

When Will NYC Stop Fighting Heroes’ Claims & Benefits?

When can I stop being right about NYC’s treatment of Ground Zero first responders and cleanup workers?

I have written more than I wish I ever had to about the governmental response to the environmental effects of 9/11 and how it demonstrates a “profits over safety business model.” This “profits over safety business model” in turn resembles the tort “reform” business model. In short, these two models involve:

1) A knowing and/or intentional decision to generate profit or allow increased savings by way of putting human wellbeing at risk.

2) A detrimental effect on human health and wellbeing caused by this decision.

3) Attempts to deny and contest a causal connection between their conduct and the resulting injury in order to avoid liability.

4) Public campaigning and advocacy pushing the message that allowing liability for their misconduct will harm the economy, cost jobs, and is otherwise “too expensive.”

5) Non-recognition (at least publicly) by the responsible parties that the liability being complained of is not caused by the victims or lawyers bringing the claims, but by these responsible parties.

Well this narrative continues…again. Now, the Bloomberg administration is trying to cutback on the benefits of police and firemen’s families from 100% to 50% of pension benefits.

“Legal snarl imperils 9/11 heroes' kin aid BY MICHAEL SAUL DAILY NEWS CITY HALL BUREAU CHIEF

A dispute between the city and state over the wording of a new law is threatening the pension benefits of loved ones of retirees who died of Ground Zero-related illnesses.
The city contends that the law, recently signed by Gov. Pataki, provides a 100% salary benefit for civil servants' survivors - but only 50% for families of heroes who died after retiring from city jobs post-9/11.
But Joanna Rose, a spokeswoman for Pataki, said the measure's intent was to provide recurring payments of 100% of the salary to the beneficiaries of those who died due to their service after the terror attacks.”
After resisting evidence of a link between Ground Zero exposure and the resulting illnesses of first responders and workers, initially lobbying against the passage of the NY State bill giving first responders and workers more time to file workers compensation claims, having the city spend thousands if not millions fighting claims based on the city negligence in its response to 9/11 environmental fallout, and publicly stating that compensating this nation’s 9/11 heroes is just too expensive, now Bloomberg is trying to ex-post facto re-write the law he originally opposed." (link)

How far can one go to deny a decent life and a decent standard of living to the survivors of those who became ill because they were serving their country in the wake of 9/11 (to say nothing of those still living)? Well, I think if you ask the Mayor he will tell you that….well….it’s just too expensive…. as he has said about almost every type of compensation the 9/11 first responders and workers have asked for.

Well here’s the outcome:

“Late yesterday, Detectives' Endowment Association President Michael Palladino said he received commitments from both sides of the state Legislature and the governor's office to amend the law.
However, when asked to confirm whether Pataki will shepherd through a new version of the law, Rose declined to comment.
"It's sad that such a very, very serious, important issue could [become a] political football," Palladino said.”(link)

Read my previous posts on the 9/11 and the “safety over profits” and the tort “reform” business models.

Why the Challenges Faced by 9/11 Workers Affect Us All

9/11 & The Safety Is Too Expensive Business Model

Congress Rejects Aid For Sick 9/11 Responders: Puts Financial Safety Over Human Safety

9/11 Financial Safety Over Human Safety Narrative Continues

Federal and NYC Governments Make It as Hard As Possible for 9/11 Victims

9/11 Ground Zero Worker Lawsuit Moves Forward & The Profits Over Safety Business Model Continues

Judge stands up for WTC heroes - mayor must, too

If you or your organization is interested in learning more about or working on these types of civil justice issues, please feel free to contact me at

Cyrus Dugger
Senior Fellow in Civil Justice
Drum Major Institute for Public Policy

Cyrus Dugger: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 4:10 PM, Oct 23, 2006 in 9/11 & Ground Zero
Permalink | Email to Friend