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FREE CONSULTATION

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Representing All Firefighters in Legal Matters

2020 | NAPOLILAW.COM

WE ARE HERE AND READY TO HELP.


FIGHTING TO SECURE MEDICAL CARE FUNDING FOR THE VICTIMS OF 9/11

We are ready. From left, Hunter J. Shkolnik, Marie Napoli and Paul J. Napoli.

New 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Eligibility Requirements

W

E EVALUATE CASES DAILY and we encourage you to contact Napoli Shkolnik PLLC to discuss steps regarding your claim as well

as to speak about any new eligibility requirements. We have active offices across the country in California,

GET MONTHLY CASE UPDATES AND FIRM ANNOUNCEMENTS NAPOLILAW.COM/SIGNUP

Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas and Washington DC with our principal offices in New York City and Long Island. This informational booklet highlights the firm’s ongoing commitment and representation involving 9/11 cases, which began more than 17 years ago.

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VCF REAUTHORIZATION BILLIONS IN FUNDS AVAILABLE

PAUL NAPOLI WAS PROFILED in the published book City of Dust, a journalistic account of the rescue, recovery and debris-removal activities at the site of the World Trade Center following the September 11, 2001 attacks, authored by former New York Times columnist Anthony DePalma.

PART OF LEGISLATION HISTORY THE FIRM LOBBIED New York State and U.S. Congress for 3 important pieces of legislation to assist injured workers and residents. These include an amendment to NEW YORK’S GENERAL MUNICIPAL LAW §50-I (“JIMMY NOLAN’S

Free 9/11 VCF Certification Review

I

LAW.”) JAMES ZADROGA 9/11 HEALTH AND COMPENSATION ACT OF 2010 (“ZADROGA BILL”)

and the NEVER FORGET THE HEROES: JAMES ZADROGA, RAY PFEIFER, AND LUIS ALAVAREZ

N 2016, the U.S. Senate and the House passed legislation that allows us to sue those involved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, including Saudia Arabia and

Iran. We have been at the forefront of the effort to

hold those nations accountable. In addition to the WTC Defendants and to the 9/11 Zadroga VCF we continue to aggressively pursue avenues of recovery for our clients. If you had a claim in the WTC Litigation or the 9/11 Zadroga VCF you may still be able to pursue other claims.

PERMANENT AUTHORIZATION OF THE SEPTEMBER 11 VICTIM COMPENSATION FUND ACT.

Our office also helped pass the re-opened Victim’s Compensation Fund and process many of its claims. We were also actively involved in the successful efforts to extend and further fund the Zadroga Act with a provision allowing previously denied, “certified” FDNY firefighters to file a claim.

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LOBBYING TO MODIFY FILING RESTRICTIONS FOR THE VCF

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LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

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HISTORIC MEDIA EXCERPTS

Settlements Reached By Workers Claiming 9/11-Related Illnesses March 23, 2015 | Joel Stashenko | New York Law Journal

A

FEDERAL JUDGE has approved settlements reached by 78 workers who claimed toxic substances causes their respiratory and intestinal

problems as they cleaned private buildings near the World Trade Center after 9/11. Southern District Judge Alvin Hellerstein said the settlements in In Re World Trade Center Disaster Site Litigation, 1-mc-102, met the standards for fairness that have been spelled out in other federal cases, including in the related 9/11-worker matter of In Re World Trade Ctr. Disaster Site Litig., 21-mc-100 (SDNY 2010). Hellerstein said the settlements involving the 78 workers were found to be fair because they involved adversarial negotiations, no evidence of collusion and were resolved with discovery far enough along for the parties to have fairly evaluated their prospects of success. “Because the settlements are the result of a fair process, the consideration to be paid is resumably also fair, adequate, and reasonable,” Hellerstein wrote. The terms of the settlements were not disclosed, though Hellerstein said they “compare favorably” in the aggregate and individually to the settlement in In Re World Trade Ctr. Disaster Site Litig., 21-mc-100, over which Hellerstein is also presiding. That case, in which Hellerstein approved a settlement in 2010, involved more than 10,000 people who worked at the site in the wake of 9/11 and who also experienced respiratory, intestinal and other health

“It’s the last bit of litigation that remains in the World Trade Center catastrophe,” Napoli said… settlements. All are represented by attorney Paul Napoli of the Napoli Firm. They are part of a larger group of about 1,100 workers who claim injuries from cleaning about 100 private buildings around the site of the wrecked twin towers after 9/11. There are about 345 defendants in the claim. Napoli said his firm continues to represent about 900 plaintiffs in the case before Hellerstein and plans to proceed to trial against two of the largest defendants, Blackmon Mooring Steamatic Catastrophe and Weston Solutions. The plaintiffs claim that neither company took steps to properly protect workers from exposure to dangerous materials during the cleanup after 9/11 in the World Financial Center and other buildings around the World Trade Center. Napoli said Hellerstein has scheduled a three-day settlement conference in the case this week. “It’s the last bit of litigation that remains in the World Trade Center catastrophe,” Napoli said in an interview Friday. “There is no more litigation after this that has been filed. There’s the potential in the future for cancer cases to be filed, but for what’s been filed, this is it.”

problems (NYLJ, March 12, 2010). Of the 78 plaintiffs involved in the latest settlement,

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26 settled their cases entirely and 52 reached partial

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HISTORIC MEDIA EXCERPTS

WTC Plaintiff’s Attorneys “Thrilled” About Recommendation for Cancer Coverage in World Trade Center Health Program June 8, 2012 | The Sacramento Bee

T

HE LAWYERS OF THE NAPOLI FIRM today applauded the proposal by Dr. John Howard, Director of the National Institute for Occupational

Safety & Health and the Administrator of the World Trade Center Health Program, that the Program accept the entire set of recommendations issued previously by its Science/Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) to provide coverage for certain types of cancer resulting from exposure to toxins released at Ground Zero.

“My partners and all the employees of our firm are so thrilled to learn of Dr. Howard’s recommendation that all of the suggested cancers identified for coverage should be included under the World Trade Center Health Program.,” said Paul J. Napoli

Dr. Howard’s recommendations were issued in documents today (June 8, 2012); they will be subject to public review and comment for 30 days before being implemented. The Napoli firm served as Plaintiffs’ Co-Liaison Counsel for the In re: World Trade Center Disaster Site Litigations and successfully negotiated a settlement on its clients behalf worth more than $800 million. Paul J. Napoli issued the following statement: “My partners and all the employees of our firm are so thrilled to learn of Dr. Howard’s recommendation that all of the suggested cancers identified for coverage should be included under the World Trade Center Health Program. Representing these brave heroes for more than eight years, we have seen the devastating impact of World Trade Center related injuries on our clients and their families. It is this tragic long-term fallout of the World Trade Center disaster that has driven our tireless work for so many years on these clients’ behalf.”

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HISTORIC MEDIA EXCERPTS

WTC Lead Counsel Applauds Zadroga Advisory Committee’s Recommendation that WTC Related Cancers Be Covered Recommendation by WTC Advisory Panel to include Cancer treatment in Zadroga Bill Benefits is great news, say WTC Plaintiffs’ Lead Counsel March 26, 2012 | The Napoli Firm | Yahoo! Finance

T

HE NAPOLI FIRM, Lead Counsel for Plaintiffs in the World Trade Center Disaster Litigations, today announced its strong support for the Draft

Report release by the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program Scientific/Technical Advisory Committee (STAC). Trade Center Disaster Site Litigations, today announced its strong support for the Draft Report release by the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program Scientific/Technical Advisory Committee (STAC). That report, provided at the request of the Administrator of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Law of 2010 (“Zadroga Act”) recommends that the Zadroga program provide coverage for treatment and monitoring of some 20 cancers believed related to the toxic exposures suffered by first responders and other workers at the site of the World Trade Center during rescue, recovery and debris removal activities following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Pending a further hearing scheduled for March 28, 2012, the Committee’s initial recommendations are that cancers of the respiratory system (including nose, nasal cavity and middle ear, lung and bronchus, pleura, trachea, mediastinum and other respiratory organs be listed as WTC-related conditions. These cancers are as-

“Of course, our clients’ experiences and illnesses have demonstrated to us … that there is a strong link between their exposures at the WTC site and developing a number of different cancers,” said Senior Partner Paul. J. Napoli. The respiratory tract is also the major site for acute and chronic toxicity resulting from WTC-exposures, including chronic nasopharyngitis, upper airway hyperreactivity, chronic laryngitis, interstitial lung disease, “chronic respiratory disorder - fumes/vapors”, reactive airways disease syndrome (RADS ) and chronic cough syndrome. The committee has also recommended that certain cancers of the digestive system, including esophagus, stomach, colon and rectum, liver and intrahepatic bile duct, retroperitoneum, peritoneum, omentum and mesentery be listed as WTC-related conditions. The Committee also noted that gastrointestinal reflux disease (GE RD) is associated with cancer of the esophagus, especially if it progresses to Barrett esophagus.

sociated with exposure to many carcinogenic agents of concern at the WTC, including arsenic, asbestos, beryl-

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lium, cadmium, chromium, nickel, silica dust and soot.

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HISTORIC MEDIA EXCERPTS

Helping 9/11 Ill and Injured an Uphill TaskDespite challenges, attorney Napoli is waging a war for justice for first responders. October 2011 | Cynthia Brown | American Police Beat

N

O ONE WAS SURPRISED when eight years

pensation for the serious illnesses they were getting.”

ago, a police officer who had contracted cancer

“We could understand why the other lawyers were

while working on the search and recovery ef-

reluctant to take these battles on,” Napoli continued.

fort at the World Trade Center site knocked on the doors

“These cases are incredibly expensive to pursue. It’s

of the Napoli firm when he had nowhere else to turn.

very difficult to prove beyond a doubt that a cancer

The Napoli firm met with the officer. It turns out he had gone to see several other attorneys and none of

or other illness was caused by exposure to a specific toxic substance.

them would take his case. The Napoli law firm goes

“On top of that you are going up against some for-

to bat for people who have been seriously injured by

midable foes like New York City who have enormous

harmful drugs, chemicals and other toxic substances as

resources at their disposal. But on September 11 our

well as those who have been victims of financial fraud.

offices were half a block away from the site. We had a

The firm has been squaring off against some of the

constant reminder of the attacks and we felt it was our

most powerful interests in the U.S., if not the world,

duty and obligation to try and get justice for New York

for tens of thousands of victims for close to 30 years.

City’s Bravest and Finest.”

“We have represented clients who have been harmed

Shortly after that first police officer approached

by diet drugs, pregnant mothers who were prescribed

the Napoli firm about representation, the flood gates

anti-depressants like Paxil and then gave birth to ba-

opened. Eight years later the firm is representing thou-

bies with serious deformities, and people who devel-

sands of police officers and other first responders who

oped cancer after being exposed to ionizing radiation

became ill after working at the site in lower Manhattan

spewing out of a nuclear power plant,” Napoli explains.

and the Fresh Kills Landfill in Staten Island.

“We are very proud that we have been able to win

Paul’s work has become more like a mission, has

generous financial settlements over the years on be-

been costly and if he doesn’t win a settlement on be-

half of people who have come to us for help after suf-

half of the client, the firm does not recoup the millions

fering a wide range of injuries,” Paul Napoli says. “It’s a

of dollars – now close to $35 million – he spent on the

track record we are proud of.”

complicated litigation. While the total monetary invest-

“When that police officer showed up at our door the

ment made by the Napoli firm has topped $35 million,

Victims Compensation Fund had been closed,” Paul ex-

the personal sacrifices – long hours and time away

plained, “People like this officer had no way to get com-

from his family – have been great as well.

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HISTORIC MEDIA EXCERPTS

9/11 Health Deal Gets OK Ground Zero workers will receive up to $815 Million as 95.1% accept settlement November 20–21, 2010 | Chad Bray, Devlin Barrett contributed | Wall Street Journal, Greater New York

M

ORE THAN 95% of Ground Zero workers agreed to accept a settlement of long-running litigations over respiratory diseases

and other injuries suffered in recovery operations following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack. A report released Friday said 95.1% of 10,563 eligible plaintiffs agreed to settlement payments of at least $625 million and possibly as much as $815 million. Approval by at least 95% of the workers was needed under the settlement terms. “We negotiated for over two years to achieve this settlement for our clients, which we truly believe is the best result, given the uncertainty of protracted litigation,” said Paul Napoli, one of the lead lawyers for the workers. More than 10,000 workers sued the city and its contractors, as well as other related parties, for failing to adequately protect them while they worked at the World Trade Center site in the months following the 2001 terrorist attack. Many workers claim to be suffering asthma, blood cancers and other illnesses as a result of inhaling the toxic dust at the site. The main settlement with the city and its contractors is worth at least $625 million and an additional $103 million is available through settlements with related parties over Ground Zero debris, including the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The city’s settle-

“We negotiated for over two years to achieve this settlement for our clients, which we truly believe is the best result, given the uncertainty of protracted litigation,” said Paul Napoli, one of the lead lawyers for the workers. It’s possible the number of people participation could increase in the coming weeks. Someone suffering from serious lung disease as a result of injuries suffered while working at the former World Trade Center site could recover more than $1 million under the settlement with the city and its contractors. The settlement comes as New York lawmakers are trying to push through legislation in Congress that would provide health care and separate compensation to sick workers. Last week, U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in Manhattan agreed to extend the settlement deadline by a week for police officers, firefighters and other workers to accept the terms. “This settlement is a fair and just resolution of these claims, protecting those who came to the aid of this City when we needed it most,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement.

ment could increase to as much as $712.5 million, depending on how many people opt into the settlement.

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HISTORIC MEDIA EXCERPTS

9/11 Workers Approve Settlement with New York City November 19, 2010 | Jesse Solomon | CNN

A

SETTLEMENT in New York City will pay out

deal “a fair and just resolution of these claims, pro-

hundreds of millions of dollars to ground zero

tecting those who came to the aid of this city when we

workers exposed to toxic debris after the Sep-

needed it most.”

tember 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, lawyers said Friday.

“We will continue our commitment to treatment and

Plaintiffs narrowly approved the deal after facing

monitoring of those who were present at ground zero,”

a Tuesday night deadline that required 95 percent of

Bloomberg said on Friday.

some 10,000 people who worked at ground zero to approve the measure, according to the Napoli firm, an

Congressional reaction to the announcement came quickly.

attorney for the plaintiffs.

“The agreement reached today on the 9/11 settle-

In March, U.S. District Court Judge Alvin Hellerstein

ment is a positive step for many ailing first responders

rejected an earlier settlement, saying that it did not do

— but the problem isn’t over,” New York Reps. Jerrold

enough to address the workers’ ailments.

Nadler, Peter King and Carolyn Maloney said in a joint statement. “Nearly everyone agrees that the settle-

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the deal “a fair and just resolution of these claims, protecting those who came to the aid of this city when we needed it most.”

ment does not provide adequate funding to fully compensate those who are injured among the more than 10,500 plaintiffs in this case, nor does it cover the tens of thousands of 9/11 responders and survivors who are injured but have not filed lawsuits.” New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg praised the deal, pledging to “continue working to pass the James Zadro-

Friday’s agreement concludes a seven-year fight

ga 9/11 health bill in the Senate to create a long-term

between the city and first responders, who have said

solution that meets our responsibility to the heroes of

they were not properly outfitted for rescue and cleanup

September 11th.”

efforts after the 9/11 attacks, leaving them exposed to

Those who signed onto Friday’s settlement would

toxic dust that later prompted respiratory health issues.

still be eligible for the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and

The deal paves the way for at least $625 million in city

Compensation Act.

payouts. “It’s a fantastic deal for everybody,” the Napoli firm said. “Is it perfect? No. Is there a perfect deal? No. But this is as good a deal as you’re going to get.”

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Former New York City Police Department Detective New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the

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HISTORIC MEDIA EXCERPTS

NY Lawyers Working Hard to Seal the Deal on 9/11 Settlement November 8, 2010 | Mark Hamblett | New York Law Journal

A

N UNPRECEDENTED EFFORT to persuade

Cannavo, represent some 679 police and firefighters

some 10,000 plaintiffs who responded to the

who have, or fear they will have, respiratory and oth-

World Trade Center terror attacks to accept a

er illnesses from inhaling the toxic dust and ash pro-

$712.5 million settlement of their respiratory illness

duced by the collapse of the twin towers on Sept. 11,

claims is nearing the finish line. Firefighters, police and

2001. About 300 additional plaintiffs are represented

cleanup workers who toiled in the pit at Ground Zero

by a half dozen other law firms.

face a filing deadline today to opt in to the settlement,

One lawyer involved in the litigation, who asked not

and the lead plaintiffs’ lawyer said last week that he

to be named because of the sensitivity of the last-min-

expects to meet the 95 percent participation level re-

ute push, said attorneys heard comments from several

quired to make the settlement effective.

people about how hard everyone—plaintiffs’ and de-

Paul Napoli says, “I’m confident that, at the end of the day, we are going to get 99 to 100 percent.”

fense attorneys and the court—was pushing the settlement. “Well, at a certain point, yeah, guilty as charged,” the lawyer said. “They negotiated hard for this thing for over two years and, at the end of the day, people should not be surprised they are pushing for it. They think it’s

“We’re getting a lot of releases, we have over 8,500 in hand and I expect by [today] to have a lot more,” said Paul Napoli of the Napoli firm. “I’m confident that, at the end of the day, we are going to get 99 to 100 percent.”

in everyone’s best interest to do it. They think this is the best settlement [the plaintiffs] are going to get.” It has taken more than two years for the plaintiffs’ lawyers to negotiate a settlement with New York City

Still, campaigning for the settlement in In re World Trade

and its contractors and lawyers for the World Trade

Center Disaster Site Litigation, 21 MC 100, continued down

Center Captive Insurance Co., an entity formed to man-

to the wire as the firm held one-on-one meetings with

age insurance costs associated with the response to

clients at its own offices and in rented hotel conference

the terror attacks and funded by a $1 billion grant from

rooms and ballrooms. On Wednesday night, lawyers

the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

were in Nassau County and on Staten Island on Thurs-

The parties thought they had reached a final agree-

day. Further meetings were scheduled during the week-

ment in early 2010. But on March 19, Southern District

end in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx.

Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein stunned Mr. Napoli; James

Mr. Napoli’s firm, serving as co-liaison plaintiffs’

Tyrrell of Patton Boggs, who is the city’s lead outside

counsel, represents the vast majority of the claimants

counsel; and the lead lawyer for the WTC Captive, Mar-

in the seven-year-old litigation. Nicholas Papain and

garet Warner of McDermott Will & Emery, when he re-

Andrew J. Carboy of Sullivan Papain Block McGrath &

jected the proposed deal.

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HISTORIC MEDIA EXCERPTS

Most Sept. 11 Responders Suits Over Dust November 8, 2010 | CBS News Team | CBS News

M

ORE THAN 10,000 WORKERs exposed to the tons of toxic dust that blanketed ground zero after the World Trade Center fell have

ended their bruising legal right with New York City and joined a settlement worth at least $625 million, officials said Friday. The deal will resolve an overwhelming majority of the lawsuits over the city’s failure to provide protective equipment to the army of construction workers, police

“The deal will resolve an overwhelming majority of the lawsuits over the city’s failure to provide protective equipment to the army of construction workers, police officers and firefighters who spent months clearing and sifting rubble after Sept. 11, 2001.”

officers and firefighters who spent months clearing and sifting rubble after Sept. 11, 2001. Among the thousands who sued, claiming that soot at the site got into their lungs and made them sick, more than 95 percent eligible for the settlement agreed to take the offer. Only 520 said no or failed to respond. City officials and lawyers for the workers said they welcomed a resolution to a case that had pitted New York and a long list of demolition companies against the very men and women who helped lower Manhattan recover. “This settlement is a fair and just resolution of these claims, protecting those who came to the aid of this City when we needed it most,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement. Paul Napoli, with the law firm representing most of the workers, called the settlement “the best result, given the uncertainty of protracted litigation.” The settlement, which has been on the table since

The settlement will provide at least $625 million to the workers, although related deals with other defendants, including the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, will likely boost that total to $725 million or more. A majority of the money will come from a special $1 billion fund set up by Congress and paid-for by the American people. Workers could have qualified for an even larger total, topping $800 million, if enough workers had accepted the offer. The payment amount was based partly on how many agreed to join. The deadline to opt in to the deal was Tuesday. The results were withheld from the media and public for three days while lawyers loaded documents into a computer system and verified the numbers. Barring an act of Congress, the settlement will be the largest pool of compensation for people who fell ill in the years after their service at the trade center.

the spring, won approval by the thinnest of margins. Under terms of the deal, it would only become effec-

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tive if at least 95 percent of eligible plaintiffs signed on. It just cleared that hurdle, with 95.1 percent.

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TESTIMONIALS

As a lifelong resident of New York City and a retired firefighter with the FDNY, STEPHEN HOLIHAN has a unique understanding of clients’ needs.

What Our Clients Are Saying AS A FIREFIGHTER, you can’t put on a price on

stand. His time as a firefighter has served him well as

having a retired firefighter represent you.

he knows the ins and outs of what we go through in

Steve Holihan knows both sides having been a fire-

the firehouse and at a job.”

fighter, a 9/11 first responder and an accomplished

Richard M. | Ret. FDNY Firefighter

attorney. I can’t see how any attorney can match his skills when it comes to firefighter cases.”

I HAVE WORKED WITH MR. HOLIHAN on sev-

Shaun M. | Ret. FDNY Lieutenant

eral occasions over the years. His knowledge of FDNY procedures and the law is for sure one of a

WORKING WITH STEVE HOLIHAN has made

kind. I feel my legal matters benefited from his knowl-

my legal case seamless. Each step of the way

edge. I would recommend him without hesitation.”

he has explained the process in terms I can under-

Robert M. | FDNY Lieutenant

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YOUR LEGAL TEAM

Your Legal Team With unparalleled resources that can help first responders explore all avenues of recovery.

Partner

Partner

Marie Napoli

Hunter J. Shkolnik

Partner

Associate

Christopher R. LoPalo

Jaquay B. Felix

Of Counsel

Of Counsel

Paul J. Napoli

Stephen Holihan

Mr. Napoli was appointed by the United States Dis-

Retired Firefighter, FDNY

trict Court as Liaison Counsel representing more than

Ladder 146, Engine 204, Engine 307

11,000 first responders and other rescue and recovery workers who were injured during the rescue, recovery and debris-removal activities at the World Trade Center in the months following 9/11. Paul was instrumental in obtaining settlements that are today valued at more than $1 billion for his clients.

Mr. Holihan knows first-hand the joy and hardship associated with being a firefighter. He was honored and privileged to serve and work alongside selfless and inspiring people. The attitude employed in his practice carries over from his time with the FDNY community and regularly helps firefighters pro bono with various legal matters, including working with several members on their three-quarter disability pension and has worked defending firefighters against Fire Department discipline charges.

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WTC HEALTH PROGRAM

Review Your WTC Certifications and Pension Classification In our time working with retired members of s ervice from the FDNY and NYPD who worked at Ground Zero, we have encountered many members who do not understand the need to do a review of their medical conditions at regular intervals. What We Do We are helping many retired FDNY/NYPD members

GET STARTED NOW

reclassify their pension so that all WTC conditions are

Please contact Georgia Leon to set up an

recognized by their respective agency. Reclassification

appointment at your earliest convenience.

has several benefits including: A WTC condition that is recognized by FDNY or NYPD

gleon@napolilaw.com

that ultimately causes the death of the member will trigger certain survivor benefits not otherwise avail-

(212) 397-1000 (ext. 2032)

able; and A reclassification to a WTC disability pension for a physical injury/illness from a non-WTC disability pension, PTSD-related WTC pension or regular pension gives rise to a claim for economic loss with the Victim’s Compensation Fund.

How We Help We invite you to contact us to discuss your conditions and review your WTC medical history. Recent reviews have spurred our clients to seek further diagnosis, treatment and compensation. We are available to discuss your individual need as it relates to the above matter.

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RESULTS WHERE IT COUNTS

Related Settlements We seek the compensation and justice that you deserve. $2 Million Zadroga Settlement

$816.45 Million Settlement

This settlement for economic loss was initially de-

For injuries sustained by Firefighters, Police Officers and

clined, but was won on appeal. Our client was an

Construction Workers at Ground Zero from toxic dust.

office worker who was downtown during the whole

$28 Million Settlement

exposure period and is unable to work.

For injuries sustained by Rescue and Recovery Work-

$450,000 Zadroga Settlement

ers at Ground Zero from Toxic Dust while working on

This settlement was reached on behalf of a City of

the Barges and Piers.

New York worker who returned to 12-hour days shortly after 9/11. Our client passed away from prostate cancer.

$47.5 Million Settlement For injuries sustained by Rescue and Recovery workers at Ground Zero from toxic dust recovered from

$250,000 Zadroga Settlement

The Port Authority of NY and NJ.

Our client was an office worker who was downtown on 9/11. She returned to work shortly thereafter, working 8-hour shifts until retirement in 2003. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in early 2018.

$24.5 Million Settlement For injuries sustained by Rescue and Recovery workers at Ground Zero from toxic dust at Fresh Kills landfill.

Accolades

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Super Lawyers®

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Fortune Magazine America’s Premier Lawyers AV® Preeminent® Rated Lawyers by Martindale-Hubbell® National Trial Lawyers, T  op 100 Trial Lawyers Litigation Counsel of America™ Proven Trial Lawyers Million Dollar Advocates Forum

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FIREFIGHTER’S RIGHTS

What Legal Rights Do Firefighters Have If Injured In the Line Of Duty? Everyone knows that firefighting is a dangerous profession. No one knows that better than the firefighters themselves. There is inherent risk of the job, but that doesn’t mean that injuries are “just another day at the office”. Under New York State law, injured firefighters have significant legal rights, but it wasn’t always this way. A Brief History of Firefighter Legal RIghts

far-reaching protections and ensuring that the statute is interpreted as the legislature intended.

THE FIREFIGHTER’S RULE There was a time when firefighters were barred from bringing a lawsuit for most work injuries caused by another person’s negligence. Because this harsh treatment was reserved for firefighters alone, it was termed the “firefighter’s rule.” Why were firefighters singled out? Courts justified the rule by claiming that firefighters “assumed the risk” of their dangerous profession. The implications of the firefighter’s rule are obvious. A firefighter who sustained terrible injuries as a result of someone’s negligence could never be compensated

Thankfully, recent court decisions and lawsuits brought on behalf of injured firefighters have conf\irmed that firefighters are receiving these special protections. For example, a defendant can no longer argue that a firefighter was injured because of his own negligence, or that he “assumed the risk.” Moreover, the connection between the violation and the firefighter’s injury need not be as close as in an ordinary negligence case. The requirement for a plaintiff to prove a defendant knew about a violation is reduced in these cases as well.

for his loss. He could lose his career and ability to support his family, without legal recourse. Worse still, the firefighter’s rule seemed to encourage negligence.

SOME EXAMPLES OF HOW GML § 205-A CAN BE APPLIED

GENERAL MUNICIPAL LAW § 205-A

If an illegal wall has been built inside the struc-

In 1935, the New York State legislature stepped in. It

ture, and during the fire rescue, that wall col-

enacted General Municipal Law § 205-a, which permits

lapses and crushes, causes other injury, or kills

firefighters to sue when they are injured as the result

the firefighter.

of someone’s violation of a statute, rule, or regulation.

The firefighter uses a handrail that was found

Still, courts were not quick to part ways with the firefighter’s rule. They applied GML § 205-a narrowly, often imposing limitations not contained in the statute. In response to these court decisions, lawmakers have amended GML § 205-a a number of times. Each time, making clear that firefighters in New York are afforded

to be insufficiently secured to a wall and suffers injury resulting in failure of the hand rail. If a firefighter attempts to climb stairs that are at a steeper angle than OSHA ordinance allows, then subsequently falls down those stairs.

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FIREFIGHTER’S RIGHTS

To win a lawsuit brought under General Municipal

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I SUSTAIN AN INJURY IN THE LINE OF DUTY?

Law § 205-a, an injured firefighter must show that the defendant violated a federal, state, or local provision that is part of a “well-developed body of law”. Provisions from the NYC Administrative Code (including the

If you sustain a work-related injury, you should

fire, housing maintenance, and building codes), New

immediately take the following two steps.

York State Multiple Dwelling Law, New York State Ve-

Complete an accurate CD-72 Report (also

hicle and Traffic Law, and OSHA are frequently cited

known as a Line of Duty Member Injury Report)

in GML § 205-a cases. Violations of the Penal Law and

that specifies the negligent condition that

section 27-a of the New York State Labor Law have also

caused your injury. This will be important evi-

been successfully asserted in such cases.

dence, and it is recommended that you ask an officer for help if you have not completed this

General Obligations Law § 11-106

document in the past.

In 1996, the legislature enacted General Obligations

After you document your injury with a doctor or

Law § 11-106. This provision gives firefighters a cause

hospital, contact a lawyer who has experience

of action in negligence for line-of-duty injuries, except

handling firefighter injury cases.

against municipal employers and fellow workers. Thus, an injured firefighter now has two potential avenues for recovery from negligent parties. If the violation of

Stephen Holihan, an attorney and retired FDNY

a statute, rule, or city ordinance caused injury to a fire-

firefighter, knows the hardship firefighters faced and

fighter, they can bring a lawsuit under GML § 205-a. If

continue to face in connection with the 9/11 attacks.

someone’s negligence caused the injuries, regardless

Stephen maintains close ties to the FDNY community.

of whether there was a violation of a statute, the fire-

He litigates tirelessly for firefighters in defense of their

fighter may bring a cause of action in negligence, ex-

three-quarter disability injury pensions and other seri-

cept against his employer.

ous firefighter injury matters.

How Napoli Shkolnik Helps With Your Firefighter Injury Claim Napoli Shkolnik has access to the resources and information needed to help you build a successful case. We are uniquely positioned with former firefighters who are familiar with the risks that firefighters face. Of Counsel Stephen Holihan is a retired firefighter who has been disabled by the events of the 9/11 World Trade Center Attacks.

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EXPOSURE

Aqueos Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) and Turnout Gear Contain Harmful PFCs If you have testicular cancer, kidney cancer, t hyroid problems or ulcerative colitis, reach out to us today. What Are PFCs? PFCs or perfluorochemicals, also called perfluoroal-

PFAS CONTENT ON FIRE GEAR

kyls3, are a group of man-made chemicals that include

Many turnout gear and first-responder

PFOA, perfluorooctanoic acid, and PFOS, perfluorooc-

uniforms have been treated with PFAS.

tane sulfonic acid. As a group, these chemicals are per-

Breathing apparatus is not enough to prevent

sistent in the environment and remain in your blood for many years.

serious health ailments associated with PFAS exposure.

Is There a Safe Level of Exposure? No, we do not believe that there is a safe level of exposure. Currently, the EPA has established a lifetime

Unused/Retired gear is donated or sent to a landfill where the PFAS will come off and enter waterways.

health advisory for combined exposure to PFOA and PFOS in drinking water at 70 parts per trillion. Many states have significantly lower recommended exposure levels.

PERSISTENCE IN THE ENVIRONMENT How long will starting material or degradation products remain in the environment before being destroyed or degraded to compounds with minimal impact upon

Who is Responsible? Manufacturers such as 3M, National Foam, DuPont, Chemours, Chemguard, Tyco, The Ansul Company,

the environment and humans. TOXICITY

and Buckeye Fire Protection, as well as others, may be

Firefighting foam ingredients can also include glycols

liable for the contamination and injuries and are the

and biocides which, when released in the environ-

subject of numerous lawsuits throughout the country.

ment, can find pathways to humans. They can pose a

Factors to Consider When Evaluating Acceptability of Firefighting Foams BIOACCUMULATION

toxic threat from both acute and chronic exposures.

Retired FDNY firefighter Stephen Holihan is working

PFC firefighting foam ingredients can bioaccumulate

to secure compensation for

in the environment and humans and they can

firefighters nationwide who

bioconcentrate and even biomagnify in the food chain.

are affected by AFFF.

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GIVING BACK

PAUL NAPOLI IS A BOARD MEMBER of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, working to realize their message of remembrance, volunteerism and education.

NEW YORK FIREFIGHTERS BURN CENTER FOUNDATION FDNY FIRE FAMILY TRANSPORT FOUNDATION NATIONAL SEPTEMBER 11

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strongly believe in organizations that encour-

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age educational opportunities, provide the inspirational tools needed for true progress and then recognize the achievements. In a rapidly changing and challenging world, we

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FREE CONSULTATION

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LEGAL REPRESENTATION IN FIREFIGHTER MATTERS 9/11 Captive lawsuits against

FDNY ¾ Disability Pension

Ground Zero contractors

issues, including Article 78

Firefighter line-of-duty injury cases AFFF Lawsuits against manufacturers on behalf of firefighters 9/11 Victim Compensation cases: Original VCF and the

court actions challenging FDNY pension determinations Pension reclassification counseling and representation Representation of FDNY members in disciplinary proceedings

Zadroga VCF

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