A dozen 9/11 health cases, chosen out of 10,000 lawsuits filed, will go to trial starting in May
BY Alison Gendar
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Saturday, February 20th 2010, 4:00 AM
Nearly a decade after the Twin Towers fell, a dozen of those who claim they've been condemned to death by Ground Zero's toxins are finally headed to court.
Federal Judge Alvin Hellerstein Friday revealed the 12 health cases tied to the terror attacks that will go to trial in Manhattan federal court just blocks from the World Trade Center site.
"These cases include some who have spent the greatest amount of time searching for remains, cleaning up," said Paul Napoli, a lead lawyer for many of the plaintiffs. "They are among the greatest heroes and they bear the brunt of illness because of those efforts."
The dozen cases are a mix of New York City firefighters, cops, transit workers and Con Ed employees.
They were chosen from nearly 10,000 health lawsuits filed and will act as a roadmap for future settlements. The first trial is set to start May 18.
All claim that their exposure to contaminates at Ground Zero in Manhattan or at the Fresh Kills Landfill left them chronically sick, or, in one case, killed them.
Firefighter Raymond Hauber, 47, died of esophageal cancer in 2007 after putting in at least 90 days on the smoking rubble pile, according to court records.
His family has recounted how Hauber had the day off on Sept. 11, 2001, yet he raced to his firehouse, Engine Co. 284 in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, and joined the rescue and recover efforts.
Hauber's case was one of the four selected by the judge to go to trial. Another four cases were chosen by the city and contracting companies being sued and four by lawyers representing workers who claim their illnesses were caused by exposure at Ground Zero.
One of the cases chosen by victims' lawyers was FDNY Lieutenant Martin Fullam, who said he spent weeks sifting through the rubble at Ground Zero. Last March, he received a life-saving lung transplant.
His illness - a rare autoimmune disease called polymyositis - strikes only one in 100,000 people in the United States, but he and his family have noted at least six of the 8,000 Ground Zero workers have it.
The city's lawyers have played hardball in the months leading up to case selection, highlighting individuals they said showed no connection between their claimed illness and the terror attacks.
One of the cases selected by the city was Con Ed employee Robert Galvani, who city lawyers claimed weighed more than 400 pounds and suffered from diabetes, sleep apnea, hypertension and breathing problems before 2001.
The other chosen cases are: FDNY Firefighter Frank Malone; NYPD Officer Scott Malkoff; Harold Valencia; Port Authority Sgt. Michael Honovich; NYC Transit Authority worker Nicholas Ferrantello; NYPD motor vehicle operator Alberdeston Gonzalez; NYPD Sgt. Dawn Sorrento; Con Ed worker Richard Calderon; Richard L. Sanchez.