NYS Seal


FOR RELEASE:   Immediate, Wednesday April 9, 2003

Governor, Majority Leader, Speaker, And Attorney General Announce Legislation To Extend Lawsuit Deadline For 9/11 Victims

Agreement Will Extend Deadline for Families Until March 11, 2004

Governor George E. Pataki, Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Attorney General Eliot Spitzer today announced agreement on legislation extending the time period for the filing of wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The legislation will effectively postpone the deadline for lawsuits by an additional six months, until March 11, 2004.

"The people of New York will never forget those who were tragically lost on September 11th," Governor Pataki said. "This bi-partisan agreement reflects our ongoing commitment to providing support and assistance to those who lost loved ones on that terrible day."

Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno said, "Since September 11th, we have made it our firm commitment to do whatever is necessary to provide support and assistance to the victims and families of victims of the attacks on the World Trade Center. This legislation is in keeping with that commitment."

Speaker Silver said, "By extending the wrongful death filing deadline for the thousands of families who suffered the unimaginable pain and loss as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11th we are keeping our state's commitment to those struggling to put their lives back together. This extension will lessen the burden of their rebuilding process by easing the pressure associated with filing."

Attorney General Spitzer said, "Absolutely no purpose is served by forcing these grieving family members to bring lawsuits by September 2003, and then withdraw those lawsuits three months later. I am pleased that we have bipartisan agreement to eliminate this unnecessary burden on the families of the September 11th terrorist attacks. They have suffered enough."

Family members of victims of the September 11th attacks can seek compensation in either of two ways: (1) filing a lawsuit; or (2) filing a claim with the federal Victim Compensation Fund ("Fund") established by Congress shortly after the attacks. Most victims are expected to file claims with the Fund, because they are not required to prove negligence by any third party.

So far, claims have been filed on behalf of approximately 750 deceased victims, and it is expected that many other victims' families will file claims shortly before the December 21, 2003 deadline for such submissions. Those who file claims with the Fund must waive their right to sue, and must withdraw any lawsuits previously filed.

New York State currently has a two year statute of limitations for the filing of wrongful death actions. This means that family members must hire lawyers and file lawsuits by September 11, 2003. Those families must then withdraw those lawsuits if they wish to file claims with the Fund. The legislation proposed today solves that problem by extending the statute of limitations for another six months, postponing the deadline for lawsuits until March 11, 2004.

- 30 -
New York State Assembly
[ Welcome Page ] [ Press Releases ]