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Saturday, October 23, 2004

Survivors of Sept. 11 Victims Compete for Benefits

A little twist in the battle for benefits by 9/11 survivors. Apparently, St. 4 of New York's Workers' Compensation Law was enacted to provide Domestic Partners the same benefits as traditionally married couples...What the Legislature failed to take into account was human nature (read: Greed)...and plaintiff attorneys. So, in the effort to afford the same benefits to same sex partners...they opened up the door to split the benefits with all sorts of domestic relationships. For example:

Survivors of Sept. 11 Victims Compete for Benefits
Mark Fass
New York Law Journal
10-21-2004

(snip)

In passing the law, state legislators believed it would only be relevant for gay partnerships, said Grey of Grey & Grey in Farmingdale, N.Y.

"They had no clue that heterosexual people that had children by one marriage and lived with a boyfriend or girlfriend would qualify under this statute," he said.

Therefore, the law failed to address issues involving remarriage and children, and domestic partners' benefits came into direct competition with surviving children's benefits, Grey said.

Grey represents the daughter of Paul Innella, a systems analyst who was among the 658 Cantor Fitzgerald employees killed at the World Trade Center. In addition to his daughter, Victoria, his survivors included his ex-wife, Victoria's mother; and his fiancee, Lucy Aita.

On July 18, 2002, the Workers' Compensation Board issued an administrative decision awarding Victoria the maximum death benefits, a weekly award of $400 plus a retroactive payment of $17,360.

Five days later, Aita filed an appeal of the decision that resulted in reducing Victoria's weekly award from $400 to $180. The same ruling awarded Aita $220 per week. (Memorandum of Board Panel Decision, R.12-16).

The appellant's brief argues, among other things, that the provision for domestic partners denies equal protection of the law to the children of Sept. 11 victims.
(snip)


They should have entitled the article "No Clue." That's exactly how the NY Legislature could be described in failing to understand the concept of "bad law."

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