9/11 First-Responders Lawyer Admit Errors

Misreported illnesses and time victims spent at Ground Zero

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    New York City firefighters exit the walkway leading down into ground zero after finishing a shift on the cleanup and recovery effort.

    The main lawyer representing thousands of September 11th rescue and recovery workers has admitted his firm made mistakes while preparing claims, although he states the errors occured at preliminary stages.

    Attorney Paul Napoli said the errors are being corrected and wont have any bearing on the outcome.  He claimed that the mistakes were the result of a "crushing" workload and pressure to meet court deadlines by his firm, Worby Groner Edelman & Napoli Bern, which is working with more than 9,000 police officers, firefighters and construction workers who assert New York City failed to protect them from toxic World Trace Center ash. 

    "We are not trying to pull the wool over anyone's eyes," Napoli said in an interview with the Associated Press on Thursday.

    On Sunday, the AP had reported that some of the first cases toward trial contained inconsistent or exaggerated information regarding
    health problems or the amount of time spent at ground zero. The report included many rescue workers and firefighter accounts who felt the law firm gave false information regarding their conditions. 

    Napoli criticized the AP's report as "nitpicking."

    "Are there some mistakes? Yes. But whenever anyone does everything, there are mistakes," Napoli said.

    William Groner, a partner in the firm, said they hired a team of nurses and spent millions of dollars verifying medical records. He said the firm has spent years collecting medical files and entering the information into a database the court is using to categorize plaintiffs and manage the case. The first trials are set to start in May. 

    However, the accuracy of the records on client injuries may play a major part in any settlement, and could likely help determine how much each plaintiff gets paid.