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9/11 Families Appeal Court Decision

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2012 5:20 pm    Post subject: 9/11 Families Appeal Court Decision
From Aug 20, 2012 to Aug 24, 2012 (included)
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August 18, 2012

9/11 Families Appeal Court Decision

Seventeen 9/11 family members of WTC Victims have filed an appeal of a court decision. We were forced to file the original lawsuit and this current appeal because the City of New York and the 9/11 Memorial/Museum refused to seek the input of each of the WTC victims’ families regarding the current plan to place human remains in the basement of the 9/11 Museum. If we prevail in this appeal we would be granted access to the families’ names and addresses—which would allow us to give all the WTC family members the opportunity to have a voice, and a choice in the final resting place of their loved ones.

For more details, please see below:


The plans for the National September 11 Memorial and Museum call for the unidentified human remains of those who were killed at Ground Zero to be incorporated as a “programmatic element” of the Museum, and to be located in the Museum, some 70 feet below ground. The families of those who were killed were neither meaningfully notified nor consulted about this plan, and many have objected to it.

These family members believe the remains should be returned to the World Trade Center (“WTC”) site, but in a location that is separate and distinct from the Museum and above ground, akin to the Tomb of the Unknowns. For the approximately 1,100 families that did not receive any recovery of their loved ones’ remains, the repository of human remains in the Museum may be the closest thing they will have to a cemetery. These and other families of WTC victims will only be able to visit the remains during the hours the Museum is open or if they have made an appointment. The families believe they should be able to visit the remains spontaneously, at any hour of the day or evening. Moreover, the families do not want to have to enter a museum in order to visit the remains. As one of the objecting family members stated, “None of us, whether we’ve received recovery or not, should have to walk past thousands of tourists and the 9/11 Museum store on the 1st floor, selling its WTC cups, shirts, and books on our way to pray over our loved ones’ remains.”

Seventeen 9/11 family members who objected to the City’s plan filed a Freedom of Information (“FOIL”) lawsuit in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York (“trial court’) against the City of New York, Office of the Mayor, and Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The goal of the lawsuit is to direct the City to release the list of the 2,749 family members whose loved ones died on 9/11/01 for the sole purpose of meaningfully notifying them and seeking their input regarding the City’s current plan to place the unidentified human remains in the Museum.

The issue before the trial court was whether disclosure of the names and addresses of the WTC victims’ family members falls within the FOIL’s privacy exemption. The seventeen family members argued that New York courts have held that the disclosure of names and addresses is not an invasion of personal privacy and have ordered such disclosure under FOIL.

On October 25, 2011, in Regenhard et al. v. City of New York et al., 2011 N.Y. Slip Op. 32844(U) (Trial Order) the trial court denied the Petition. Recently the seventeen family members appealed the trial court’s decision.

For further information and/or a copy of the brief submitted to the Appellate Division, First Department, please contact Norman Siegel at 212-455-0300 or nsiegel@stellp.com
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