9/11 families renew bid to poll victims' relatives

Families of 9/11 victims, along with attorney Norman

Families of 9/11 victims, along with attorney Norman Siegel, hold a press conference in Madison Square Park before entering the Manhattan Appellate court for a hearing about the future of burials at the World Trade site. (Jan. 9, 2013) Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

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The families of some of those killed in the World Trade Center attack in 2001 renewed their legal bid Wednesday to poll the relatives of all the victims for their opinion on how to inter the remains of unidentified victims.

The city provided a list of relatives of all the victims to the 9/11 Museum, but has refused on privacy grounds to provide the list to other parties, including some families who object to the museum's plan for an underground repository at its lower Manhattan space.

Those families went to the Appellate Division in Manhattan on Wednesday to attend oral arguments on their appeal for the list -- a request that a lower court judge had rejected in 2011.

Attorney Norman Seigel, representing the families, told the five-judge appellate panel that the city should not favor one group over another by giving the list to the museum and not the families. The museum is not a party to the suit.

An attorney for the city, Ellen Ravitch, said the privacy interest of all the families "is greater than the public interest" served by releasing the list under the Freedom of Information Law. The judges gave no indication of when they would rule.

Before the brief court hearing, the group of families held a news conference across the street in Madison Square Park to complain that they were excluded from the decision-making.

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"The bottom line is we were never consulted or asked," Rosemary Cain of Massapequa said. "We were told. Who gives them the right to take ownership of our loved ones?"

Cain's son, firefighter George Cain, 35, died in the attack.

She said the underground area of the museum was flooded during superstorm Sandy, and that any remains placed underground might be degraded by a future storm, making future DNA identification less likely.


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