NYC Challenges 9/11 Workplace Injuries

The legal maneuver has infuriated Ground Zero responders, who called the city's move "a slap in the face."The city has asked a judge to toss out 9/11 claims by 4,600 cops, firefighters, and paramedics, arguing the "uniformed" personnel are not entitled to...


The legal maneuver has infuriated Ground Zero responders, who called the city's move "a slap in the face."

The city has asked a judge to toss out 9/11 claims by 4,600 cops, firefighters, and paramedics, arguing the "uniformed" personnel are not entitled to workplace protection under state labor laws.

The legal maneuver has infuriated Ground Zero responders, who called the city's move "a slap in the face."

New York's Bravest and Finest fought smoldering fires at Ground Zero, dug for human remains and guarded the toxic disaster site for months, the city says. But they don't get the same protections as manual laborers, mechanics and other "working men," the city contends.

"The uniformed plaintiffs do not fall within the class of employees entitled to the protections of the labor law," city lawyer James Tyrrell argues in a motion filed in Manhattan federal court.

Uniformed workers make up half of about 9,000 city employees, construction workers and others who have filed suits against the city in the World Trade Center cleanup.

If the city gets its way, NYPD and Port Authority cops, firefighters and EMTs would also be dismissed from claims against the city's WTC contractors.

But a lawyer for the workers, Paul Napoli, said the city's motion would unfairly "deprive uniformed service workers of basic occupational safety and health under established New York law."

"I'm furious," said ex-detective Mike Valentin, 45, who retired on disability from the NYPD in 2007 with severe lung disease and other ailments. He carries an oxygen tank, sleeps with a machine that helps him breathe, and was recently diagnosed with kidney disease.

"There is a special place in hell reserved for Mike Bloomberg," said Valentin, a father of three who launched the 9/11 Police Aid Foundation to help other ill and struggling responders.

"The callous indifference shown by the mayor enrages me. It's really sad that the city is protecting the contractors more than its unformed services."

Republished with permission of The New York Post.