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NY appeals court: Whitman not liable in Sept. 11 air case

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By Larry Neumeister
April 22, 2008

New York (AP) — Former EPA chief Christine Todd Whitman cannot be held
liable for telling residents near the World Trade Center site that the air was
safe to breathe after the 2001 terrorist attacks, a federal appeals court said
Tuesday.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Whitman apparently made comments
reassuring people about the safety around the site based on conflicting information
and reassurances by the White House.

The appeals court said legal remedies are not always available for every instance
of arguably deficient governmental performance.

A Department of Justice lawyer had argued late last year that holding the former
head of the Environmental Protection Agency liable would set a dangerous precedent
in future disasters because public officials would fear making public statements.

The ruling came in response to a lawsuit by residents, students and workers
in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn who said they were exposed to hazardous dust
and debris from the fallen twin towers after Sept. 11.

They said Whitman, who also is a former New Jersey governor, should be forced
to pay damages to properly clean homes, schools and businesses.

A lower court judge had earlier refused to dismiss Whitman as a defendant,
saying her actions were "conscience-shocking."

Read Court ruling here

Source URL: http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jP7-QdspaAc0ZXjyQ3Oha-tbeIogD906VF2O0

RELATED:

Ex-EPA Chief Not Liable for Clean Air Assurances After 9/11
ABA Journal – 1 hour ago

Posted 1 hour, 46 minutes ago
By Molly McDonough

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled today that former EPA head
Christine Todd Whitman cannot be held liable for saying that the air near the
collapsed World Trade Center site was safe to breathe after the 9/11 attacks.

Whitman made the reassuring remarks after getting conflicting information and
her own reassurances from the White House, the court found (PDF).

The panel further held that legal remedies aren’t always available for instances
of deficient government performance, the Associated Press reported.

Residents and workers in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn sued the then-EPA chief,
arguing they were exposed to hazardous dust and debris after the twin towers
fell.

Source URL: http://www.abajournal.com/news/ex_epa_chief_not_liable_for_clean_air_assurances_after_9_11/


Court Rules Whitman Not Liable For Saying Air Was Safe After 9/11
NY1 – 1 hour ago

NY
appeals court: Whitman not liable in Sept. 11 air case

The Associated Press – 1 hour ago