Appeals court refuses to dismiss Sept. 11 cases

March 26, 2008 10:01:37 AM PDT
A federal appeals court says lawsuits can proceed on behalf of thousands of workers who say they were not properly protected as they cleaned up the World Trade Center site after the 2001 terrorist attacks. Lawyers for New York City and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey had asked the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to give them immunity from nearly 8,000 workers' claims.

The appeals court said it is too early to decide whether immunity protected the defendants from these sorts of lawsuits.

The ruling means the city and the Port Authority must continue to defend the workers' claims of respiratory and other personal injuries.

Lawyers have said the lawsuits would not be ready for trial for several years.

A spokeswoman says the city law department is reviewing the opinion. The Port Authority did not immediately answer a request for comment.