Jeffrey Goldberg, Attorney at Parker Waichman Helps Obtain Enhanced Disability Pension for Retired Police Officer who Developed Illnesses after Working at Ground Zero

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A retired police officer who developed fibromyalgia, asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, and other conditions after working at Ground Zero is to receive enhanced disability pension after a five-year legal battle. She is represented by Jeffrey Goldberg, an attorney with the national law firm of Parker Waichman LLP.

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As a firm that has fought for the rights of 9/11 heroes since the beginning, we understand how important this compensation is for those individuals who have become ill as a result of toxic dust exposure and their work at the 9/11 sites.

Parker Waichman LLP, a national law firm that has spent many years fighting to ensure that the heroes of 9/11 are never forgotten, is pleased to announce that a retired police officer who developed fibromyalgia and other conditions after working at Ground Zero will receive enhanced disability pension. The Appellate Division in Manhattan overturned a lower court ruling finding that her illness was not prompted by her exposure to toxic substances while working at Ground Zero. The Appellate Court’s new ruling ends a five-year legal battle. The case is In re Annmarie Sheldon, Petitioner-Appellant v. Raymond Kelly, etc., et al., Respondents-Respondents, 101210/13.

According to court documents, the police officer worked at a security post at Ground Zero for two months following the September 11th attacks. Following her beginning to work at Ground Zero, she felt dizzy, short of breath, and nauseous and also suffered from chest pains. Court documents show that in 2002, she was diagnosed with heavy metal poisoning (cadmium, lead, and mercury); fibromyalgia; asthma; chronic fatigue syndrome; and acid reflux. The Police Pension Fund and a lower court had argued that her illness was not caused by toxic exposure at Ground Zero; however, the appellate judges disagreed and stated that no credible evidence was cited to support this decision. Meanwhile, the police officer presented studies linking heavy metal toxicity to fibromyalgia. The judges noted that she never had these conditions previously and ruled that fibromyalgia qualifies as a “new onset disease,” court documents indicate.

Parker Waichman LLP reports that, based on court documents, the enhanced disability pension will add another $2,400 or more monthly to help the former police officer support her family. She was originally put on a normal disability pension, which gives half of her most recent salary and is taxed; accident disability pensions provide three-quarters salary and is not taxed.

“We are pleased to see the court give 9/11 heroes the compensation they deserve,” said Matthew J. McCauley, Senior Litigation Counsel at Parker Waichman LLP. “As a firm that has fought for the rights of 9/11 heroes since the beginning, we understand how important this compensation is for those individuals who have become ill as a result of toxic dust exposure and their work at the 9/11 sites.”    

According to Parker Waichman LLP, many first responders developed respiratory illnesses, cancer, and other serious conditions as a result of exposure to the toxic dust cloud released in the wake of 9/11. Since the attacks, the firm has been committed to fighting for the rights of 9/11 heroes. Parker Waichman LLP has also worked to ensure passage of the Zadroga Act, which provides compensation, medical monitoring, and treatment to first responders and rescue workers through two programs: the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) and the World Trade Center Health Program.

Parker Waichman was deeply involved in working toward passage of the Zadroga Act, including lobbying efforts, and trips to Washington DC by Mr. McCauley and, often, the firm’s clients. Mr. McCauley and the firm continue to support the program and efforts to expand and extend its benefits and time frames.

Parker Waichman LLP, which worked, and continues to fight, alongside Ground Zero first responders and their advocates to help ensure passage of the Zadroga Act, vows to continue its efforts to safeguard these heroes and ensure that they receive all of the Zadroga Act compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one are eligible for compensation under the Zadroga Act, or filing a disability claim, and would like assistance with your claim or filing, please visit Parker Waichman's Zadroga Act claims page at yourlawyer.com, or call 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636).

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Gary Falkowitz
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