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Ground Zero Workers May Proceed With Illness Suits

NEW YORK (CN) - A 2nd Circuit ruling could expose New York City and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to "thousands of lawsuits and years of litigation" by denying them immunity from the claims of nearly 10,000 ground zero rescue workers who allegedly developed respiratory illnesses and other injuries from the dust after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The court said it lacks jurisdiction over the state-law immunity claims and concluded that the federal claims require further litigation to strike the "delicate balance" between the city's need for immunity to encourage crisis volunteers and the interests of "the very individuals who, without thought of self, rushed to the aid of the city and their fallen comrades."

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