NY Disability Attorney Files Class Action Lawsuit Against Verizon for Potential Cancer VictimsMonday, November 19, 2007
As detailed in Newsday today, Mitchell Breit of the national class action law firm of Whatley, Drake & Kallas and the disability law firm of Turley Redmond & Rosasco have filed a "medical monitoring" class action lawsuit against Verizon in New York Supreme Court, County of Brooklyn, for workers who previously worked at the former Sylvania nuclear fuel rod plant in Hicksville, Long Island. Verizon previously settled a lawsuit by surrounding residents for a reported 11 million dollars due to an increased rate of cancer in the area.
The lawsuit follows a recent decision by the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board which found that a worker on the site, Gerard DePascale, developed a rare and deadly cancer (extra-skeletal myxiod chondrosarcoma) as a result of exposure to toxins on the site. In addition, a recently released Army Corp of Engineers report found danger to the public by this still contaminated site. Despite special federal funding won by Senator Chuck Schumer for a complete clean-up of the site, legal wrangling between Verizon, the Army Corp and the New York State Department of Environmental Protection have put a stop to the clean-up. How many more people have to come down with cancer before Verizon does the right thing?
The lawsuit seeks to force Verizon to set up a "medical monitoring" fund so that the thousands of workers who were unknowingly exposed to the toxins on the site can benefit from early diagnosis and treatment of any potential medical problems. As detailed in the Newsday story today, workers like Robert Matteo are mad that they were never told of the dangers on their work site.
Unfortunately, Gerard DePascale, whose cancer has now spread to his lungs, is still waiting a final ruling from the New York State Workers Compensation Board. Despite winning his case in front of trial judge Abigail Chanis in March 2007, his employer appealed the judge’s decision. He has now been out of work with no workers’ compensation benefits since January 2006! The abnormally long delay in deciding this appeal is causing the DePascale family severe financial hardship. Thankfully, with new leadership at the Workers’ Compensation Board, a decision in Mr. DePascale’s case hopefully will be expedited.