Diane DiGiacomo is one of the many brave men and women who stepped up during the attacks on September 11, 2001. As an employee for The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA), DiGiacomo responded to the 9/11 attacks by helping animals left in their apartment. Because of her exposure to toxic fumes from the collapsed building, she developed cancer that has spread to her bones and brain. Weighing 60 pounds, and largely confined to her bed, DiGiacomo knows the cancer is killing her.
Unfortunately, in a suit to claim workers’ compensation, DiGiacomo was denied. In his recent ruling, Judge Marc Grodsky stated that the ailing woman was not eligible for compensation, as she did not suffer because of her occupation. Grodsky amended that the cancer was indisputably caused by the fumes from the 9/11 site. However, he believed that her work did not require her to be at the location she was.
DiGiacomo’s attorney, Sean Riordan, asserts that the judge is twisting the legal details. Riordan believes that if Grodsky is to be followed, the only workers who would be allowed compensation for the 9/11 attacks are firefighters.
The judge conceded that had DiGiacomo filed her suit before September 11, 2014, she would have been protected under the law. Unfortunately, she could not do so because she was not diagnosed until a month later. DiGiacomo will look to appeal Grodsky’s ruling. If denied, her last hope lies in Congress taking action.
The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act was established to protect the first responders of the attack from the harm the damage they sustained from the site. Unfortunately, lawmakers have failed to extend the act for all workers. Recently, Jon Stewart appeared on the Stephen Colbert show to lobby for the law. He stated
These 9/11 first responders, let me tell you something, these 9/11 first responders are the most top-notch, first-class, diamond-encrusted heroes America can produce.
It appears that it is up to Congress to ensure the brave men and women who responded to the 9/11 act are protected. If you have been injured during your employment, contact our New York workers’ compensation attorneys today. You may be entitled to restitution for your pain and suffering. Call our office to learn your legal rights.