Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Ailing Ground Zero workers sue for access to health fund

If you have seen "Sicko" you know about these people. They are not City employees - or at least they were not on the payroll on 9/11, and the days afterwards. They were trained paramedics, volunteer firefighters, concerned citizens. They were people who wanted to help. They wanted to get the people out alive after the towers fell. Or at least try and recover some bodies when they realized that all hope was gone. They worked for days - weeks - in atrocious conditions.

As Michael Moore reported the City refused to help them after they got sick from working in all that dust. A fund was set up by "caring nation". A billion dollars were set aside. Only one claim has ever been paid but millions have been spent on lawsuits fighting claims. Moore stage managed some aid for a few of them from the Cubans.

Lawyers who filed the class-action lawsuit Tuesday on behalf of 10,000 workers said the company overseeing a $1 billion US insurance fund has so far only paid out $45,000 to a worker who fell off a ladder.

According to the suit filed in New York state's Supreme Court in Manhattan, the World Trade Center Captive Insurance Co. has "consistently refused to pay any of the Ground Zero workers who have become ill on the work site."

The suit alleges the company, charged by Congress with doling out money for treatment of people exposed to toxic dust at the site, has spent almost $74 million US on overhead and legal bills while fighting the workers' injury claims, violating a congressional mandate to pay those claims.

and the response?

A spokesman for WTC Captive Insurance Co. said the lawsuit ... is "completely without merit."

As Moore says in the movie "What have we become?"

No comments: