New York, NY, March 11, 2005
Families of deceased New York firefighters have taken their case against Motorola, Inc., and the City of New York to the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals for review. In a precedent-setting move, nine families of firefighters who perished on September 11, 2001, are challenging Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein’s decision that shields Motorola, Inc., and the City of New York from a jury’s scrutiny of the faulty radios put in the hands of firefighters as they were ordered to ascend the burning Towers on September 11, 2001.
The families, through their attorney, Richard J. Salem, of the Salem Law Group, P.A., has offices in the District of Columbia and Florida, have enlisted a stellar team of Appellate Counsel to present their case on Wednesday, March 16, 2005, to a 3-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City (40 Foley Square, 17th Floor, Courtroom 1705). Speaking for the families, Salem offered that “this is a case about accountability and responsibility” at the highest levels of corporate and political governance. Judge Hellerstein dismissed the families’ case a year ago, holding that, by filing a claim with the Victim Compensation Fund, the families had foregone their right to maintain a civil action against anyone for any reason for damages sustained as a result of the terrorist attack. The families, on the other hand, are steadfast in their conviction that the Congress never intended to protect wrongdoers by paying off victims’ families with Federal dollars.
The families’ Appellant team consists of a renowned Constitutional Law scholar, Professor William Van Alstyne, of William and Mary College of Law, Professor William Reppy, Charles B. Lowndes Emeritus Professor of Law at Duke University School of Law, and attorney Eric Lieberman, of the New York firm Rabinowitz, Boudin, Standard, Krinsky, and Lieberman, with Richard Salem as Lead Counsel. In papers filed by the families with the Court, they begin their argument with:
On September 11, 2001, the world changed for us all. For the persons represented by plaintiffs in this action – including widows, children and parents of firefighters killed in the collapse of the World Trade Center Towers – that change was catastrophic. What was not known publicly at the time, however, but what is now confirmed by the recent The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (2004) (“Commission Report”), is that those deaths could have been prevented but for the misfeasance and culpable negligence of agents and officials of the defendants Motorola, Inc., (“Motorola”) and the City of New York.
Both Motorola and City officials knew that the antiquated analog radio equipment used by the firemen would not work in high-rise buildings, and indeed that it had failed at the time of the February 26, 1993 terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center. As the Commission Report emphasizes, that faulty equipment predictably failed again on September 11. As a result,
firefighters were unable to communicate with fire chiefs directing their activities and thus did not receive numerous evacuation orders, resulting in their death.
“This is an uphill battle,” explains Richard Salem, “but, these families believe they certainly deserve their day in Court.” The 9/11 Firefighters’ case is taking on more significance as complaints about faulty Motorola radios in the hands of firefighters elsewhere, such as Philadelphia, Houston and New Jersey, have recently surfaced.
For additional information or a sample copy, contact: Richard J. Salem, (888) 531-3131 x3201