World Trade Center Firefighter Among Hundreds Hoping for Passage of Zadroga Bill

Some <"">Ground Zero rescue and recovery workers have been penalized for missing an arbitrary deadline established in the recently approved World Trade Center toxic dust settlement. Many of these heroes are now suffering from chronic ailments, including cancer, and have no way to pay their staggering medical bills because of this deadline.

These World Trade Center emergency responders must now rely on the US Senate to approve the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act during its lame duck session. Passage of Zadroga bill is likely the only way the 325 workers left out of the Ground Zero settlement can now be compensated for their sacrifice.

These heroes include Lieutenant Steve Mozes, a firefighter from South Trail, Florida, who helped save lives following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. According to a report from, Mozes, who volunteered to work at Ground Zero, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2004. His doctor said the toxic dust he inhaled during rescue and recovery work could be to blame. While his cancer is in remission, Mozes owes thousands of dollars for the chemotherapy treatment he had to undergo. He was too busy trying to fight his illness to sign onto the lawsuit prior to the deadline.

Since 2003, upwards of 10,000 firefighters, police officers, construction workers and emergency responders have filed lawsuits against 90 defendants over illnesses they say were caused by exposure to toxic dust at Ground Zero following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. They allege that the defendants, including New York City, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and construction companies, failed to adequately supervise and protect them with safety equipment during rescue and clean-up efforts.

More than 95 percent of the workers who took New York City officials and contractors to court over health problems stemming from the rescue and recovery operations at Ground Zero approved a $625 million settlement to cover their claims last week. But according to The Wall Street Journal, 325 of those who have applied for the settlement have already been rejected by the federal judge overseeing the case, because they purportedly waited too long to file their lawsuits.

Mozes missed the deadline to join the World Trade Center lawsuit by just two weeks, said. Parker Waichman Alonso LLP, the firm representing Mozes, is representing more than a dozen people who also missed the deadline.

Parker Waichman Alonso LLP attorney Matthew McCauley told The Wall Street Journal that the Zadroga bill may be the only chance such claimants have for compensation because “they’re seeing the court dismiss every claim they put in.”

The Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act would provide long-term health care for those who became ill after working at Ground Zero, and re-create a victim compensation fund to make cash payments to sick workers or their survivors, according to The Wall Street Journal. The bill passed the House of Representatives over the summer, but has yet to be approved by the Senate.

Senate Democrats say they need to convince one more Republican to vote for the Zadroga bill. But according to the Journal, many Republicans are opposed to the measure because there is no agreement on how it should be paid for.

If it doesn’t pass during the lame duck session, the Zadroga bill may never become law. There’s almost no chance the bill will pass once Republicans take control of the House next year.

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