More On The Issues Raised by the Recent Proposal to Reopen the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund
More On The Issues Raised by the Recent Proposal to Reopen the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund:
Part Two in a Two-Part Series of Columns
By ANTHONY J. SEBOK
Apr. 10, 2007
In my last column, I explained why the City of New York is facing at least eight thousand lawsuits brought by first responders and construction workers who allege that their health has suffered as a result of work they performed after the attacks of September 11 on the World Trade Center. The City tried to have the federal judge before whom all the cases must be brought dismiss them all, on the basis of federal and state immunity to such damages claims. However, the judge refused, arguing that the City would have to argue for its immunity on a case-by-case basis.
Mayor Bloomberg has asked Congress to expand the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund (VCF) to include these new cases. He has been joined in this request by many of New York's most prominent Democratic Senators and Representatives.
It's possible that they are motivated by a desire to honor the men and women who were injured in the search for survivors and clean-up of the site - certainly a worthy goal. However, I suspect that in addition to this reason, there is another, more practical reason that many are seeking to reopen the VCF to cover these plaintiffs--fear of liability. As I will explain, that would be a realistic fear. (keep reading)