At a May 29 court conference, the city claimed that most plaintiffs had not produced all of their medical records. The plaintiffs' co-liaison counsel, Worby, Groner, Edelman, Napoli & Bern LLP, however, reported that they had delivered more than 800,000 pages of medical records. The plaintiffs also exchanged an additional 58,451 pages comprising 1,548 individual records since the court conference.
The attorneys indicated that the defendants themselves were at all times in possession and control of thousands of the plaintiffs' own records.
The attorneys also noted that by making allegations of incomplete medical records disclosure in open court, the city’s attorneys were in direct violation of a court case management order. This order required the defendants to first serve a letter advising the plaintiffs' attorneys of the claimed shortcomings in their production before taking their concerns to the court, which the defendants failed to do. The first such deficiency letter came almost three weeks after the May 29 conference.
Medical Record Analysis
After a June 25 New York Times article questioned whether the Ground Zero workers actually were injured, the plaintiffs’ attorneys called the city’s actions a thinly-veiled attempt to lessen its legal, moral and financial responsibility to provide desperately needed benefits and compensation to thousands of workers who suffer respiratory and gastrointestinal injury, cardiac problems, cancer and even death.
“As if it was not enough that these brave men and women have put their health and their families' financial well-being on the line to answer their city's call to duty in the weeks following Sept. 11, 2001, they are now asked to bear the indignity of being labeled malingerers in open court and in the press by the city and its attorneys,” said attorney Marc Jay Bern.
According to a recent in-depth analysis of the medical records reviewed thus far by the plaintiffs' attorneys, Ground Zero workers suffer from numerous ailments, with a typical rescue and recovery worker suffering from an average three different diseases.
The analysis demonstrates that 39 percent of the workers suffer from asthma; 67 percent and 57 percent have upper and/or lower respiratory ailments, respectively; about 20 percent suffer from sleep apnea; 46 percent have GERD; 6 percent experience interstitial lung disease; and nearly 38 percent have cardiac conditions.