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State trooper’s injuries in 9/11 cleanup compensable


A workers compensation claim filed by a New York State Police trooper assigned to a traffic control checkpoint one mile from the World Trade Center in the days following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York can proceed, an appeals court in New York ruled Thursday.

A 2019 decision by the state Workers’ Compensation Board stated that actions performed by trooper Christopher Bodisch from Jan. 31-Feb. 6, 2002, did not qualify as participating in the World Trade Center rescue, recovery and cleanup operations, according to documents in In the Matter of Christopher R. Bodisch v. New York State Police et al., filed in Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, Third Department in Albany.

Mr. Bodisch claimed to have suffered gastroesophageal reflux disease and damage to his esophagus as a result of being close to the site, according to documents.

Yet the board “found that the claim does not meet the requirements of an occupational disease, as claimant’s injuries derived from an environmental condition specific to the place of work and not from the nature of his employment,” documents state. The Board then treated the claim as one for accidental injury and disallowed the claim, finding it untimely, according to documents.

Mr. Bodisch, on appeal, testified that his duties at the checkpoint included stopping traffic and clearing routes for emergency and construction vehicles traveling to and from ground zero. According to claimant, he assisted getting vehicles through the checkpoint, "(w)hether it was construction, whether it was (f)ire department (or) family members,” documents state.

On appeal, a panel of five judges unanimously ruled Thursday that by “providing such assistance, we find that claimant’s activities had a tangible connection to the rescue, recovery and cleanup operations at the (World Trade Center) site.”

The panel ordered that the decision is “modified, without costs, by reversing so much thereof as disallowed the claim as untimely” and remitted to the Workers’ Compensation Board for further proceedings.








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