Michael Barasch was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1981 and has worked exclusively for law firms representing seriously injured victims of accidents and medical malpractice. After over a decade of trying major personal injury cases, Mr. Barasch joined forces with Jim McGarry. They have won hundreds of millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements on behalf of thousands of accident victims, many of them catastrophically injured.
hey have been lead counsel in several multi-plaintiff litigations. Mr. Barasch and his colleagues take special pride in the work they have done on behalf of injured New York City firefighters, winning landmark decisions that have shaped the law on their behalf. After helping scores of firefighters receive awards in their individual cases, the firm was thrust into the legal problems of those killed and injured in the World Trade Center attacks, representing the families of dozens of firefighters killed, as well as over 1,000 first responders who sustained permanent respiratory illnesses from the toxic dust at the WTC site.
Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein appointed Mr. Barasch as liaison counsel on behalf of all rescue workers injured or killed, and he worked closely with Kenneth Feinberg, the Special Master of the Victim Compensation Fund, to expand the rules of the Air Transportation Safety and Systems Stabilization Act. When the VCF closed in 2004, the firm fought to reopen it because many clients continued to be diagnosed with new illnesses caused by the toxic dust, and/or they were found disabled after they had received an award for a non-disabling injury.
In January 2011 President Obama signed the Zadroga Act into law, named in honor of the firm's client, NYPD Detective Jimmy Zadroga, who died of pulmonary disease in 2006 caused by WTC toxins. As a result, $2.4 billion has been made available for medical care and $2.7 billion has been set aside for compensation to those whose health has gotten worse since 2003. Mr. Barasch and his colleagues currently represent more than 5,000 sick first responders and residents."
Rupa Bhattacharyya has a distinguished career in public service. Rupa joined the Department of Justice in 1996 through the Attorney General's Honors Program as a Trial Attorney in the Civil Division.
She was awarded the Attorney General's John Marshall Award for Outstanding Legal Achievement for Trial Litigation, as well as three Special Commendations from the Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Division for Outstanding Service. In August 2008, Rupa accepted a Senior Executive Service position as the Deputy Assistant General Counsel for International Affairs at the Department of the Treasury. In that capacity, Rupa supervised a team of attorneys handling legal activities relating to a broad range of international economic, financial, and regulatory matters, and in 2012, she received an Exceptional Service Award from the Secretary of the Treasury.
In April 2012, Rupa returned to DOJ as a Director in the Torts Branch, with oversight over the Office of Constitutional and Specialized Tort Litigation. In that capacity, she managed three offices: the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, which has paid in excess of $3.4 billion to more than 4,700 people since the Program's 1988 inception under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act; the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act program, which has awarded more than $2 billion in compassionate compensation to eligible claimants under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act; and the Constitutional Torts staff, which defends constitutional tort claims brought against federal officials sued in their individual capacities in federal district courts, and reviews and makes determinations on requests for individual capacity representation from federal employees.
Prior to her legal professional career, Rupa served as a law clerk for the Honorable Julia Smith Gibbons, then of the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee and now of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Rupa graduated from Harvard Law School and has a Master's degree in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Her undergraduate degree is from Tulane University in her hometown of New Orleans.
Allison Blais is the Chief Strategy Officer for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. She is also co-author of A Place of Remembrance, the official book of the organization. In her current role, Blais oversees a team focused on the 9/11 Memorial & Museum's ongoing sustainability and relevance, including strategic planning, earned revenue and business analytics, commemorations and events, priority institution-wide initiatives and business partnerships.
Blais has worked on the World Trade Center rebuilding since 2004. Prior to her current role, she served as Chief Operating Officer for two years following the 9/11 Memorial Museum opening, leading departments responsible for operations, revenue and business analytics, facilities, design and construction and IT.
Before becoming COO, she served as the President & CEO’s Chief of Staff for eight years through the planning, design, building, operational ramp-up and opening of both the Memorial and the Museum. Prior to her work at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, she worked in the Chairman’s and President’s offices of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the agency charged with planning the rebuilding and revitalization of lower Manhattan in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
Before her work downtown, Blais managed capital projects for major cultural institutions and construction companies throughout New York City and worked at the Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival.
She graduated summa cum laude from Cornell University, where she serves on the President’s Council of Cornell Women, and received a master's degree in American studies from Columbia University.
She lives in lower Manhattan with her husband and daughter.
Robert Brackbill is the Director of Research for the World Trade Center Health Registry, which is located in the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
He is also the founding Principal Investigator for the Registry for which enrollment was completed in November, 2004. The Registry has been an important source of information on the health impact of the 9/11 disaster with over 90 scientific publications to date. Dr. Brackbill has a PhD in Experimental Psychology and an MPH in Epidemiology.
Brett Eagleson was 15 years old when his father, John “Bruce” Eagleson, was killed in the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Bruce was a Vice President for the Westfield Corporation which had just recently taken over the lease of the retail space at the World Trade Center site.
The company’s office was located on the 17th floor of the South Tower and there were 14 Westfield employees at the office that day. After the South Tower was struck, Bruce spoke to his eldest son Kyle and informed him that he was helping the Port Authority Police and FDNY with evacuation efforts. Bruce assured Kyle that he would exit the building once he was sure that all of his fellow employees were safe. Bruce was last seen by a colleague climbing the stairs up to the 17th floor to grab portable two-way radios to distribute to the FDNY. Thirteen Westfield employees made it out safe that day. Bruce made sure of that.
From the very young age of 15, Brett made a promise to himself and to others in a speech at his dad’s memorial mass to always do that which would make his dad proud. Brett never forgot about that vow he made to himself and never forgot about the outpouring of support that he and his family received from the 9/11 community in the months after the attacks. When an opportunity arose for Brett to advocate on behalf of the 9/11 families, survivors and first responders to the United States Congress, he seized the opportunity to make his dad proud and to give back to the community that gave his family so much.
Brett’s initial modest goal was to help the 9/11 families, survivors and first responders in their efforts to pass JASTA by gaining the support of his US House of Representative member from CT, Rosa DeLauro. After several calls and emails alerting the Congresswoman’s staff about the bill, Brett caught a break and gained Rosa’s 100% endorsement. From that endorsement, Brett went on to gather the cosponsorship of all 5 of his Connecticut Representatives in addition to cosponsorships from House reps in Maine, New Hampshire, Texas and Rhode Island. When JASTA was vetoed by President Barack Obama, Brett held numerous press conferences with both CT Senators and his House Rep DeLauro urging Congress to override their own parties President. Brett has traveled to Washington DC on numerous occasions to lobby on behalf of the 9/11 family members for JASTA.
Brett is now working hand in hand with US Senator Richard Blumenthal to pass Senate Resolution 597, which was introduced on July 30, 2018 upon Brett’s request. The resolution calls for the declassification of 9/11 documents. It is Brett’s firm belief that all family members, survivors and first responders deserve truth and transparency from our government and that 17 years is far too long to wait for closure and accountability. The resolution, if passed, will provide much needed information for the court case against Saudi Arabia that he and many in the 9/11 community are plaintiffs of.
In his day job, Brett is a commercial real estate loan officer for a community bank in Connecticut. He was married in May of 2017 and lives with his wife, Stephanie, in Connecticut.
John Feal founded the Fealgood Foundation was founded in the wake of 9/11. The foundation assists First Responders and other people who have been physically or mentally injured as a result of their rescue, recovery and clean up efforts at the WTC site after 9/11.
FealGood Foundation (FGF) advocates for First Responder rights. John Feal and FGF provide financial assistance, medical and legal contacts, and other advocacy needs.
On September, 12, 2001, John and his team of Construction Demolition experts were called to Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan to aid in the cleanup and recovery mission. While supervising his team, roughly 8,000 pounds of steel came loose from the huge pile and crushed his left foot. After 11 weeks in the hospital, doctors amputated half of John's left foot. John went through years of surgeries and innumerable hours of therapy; as well as extensive hospital stays and mounting medical expenses.
Once out of the hospital, John made it his mission to alleviate the Heroes of 9/11 from the burdens he experienced and created the FealGood Foundation. John's team at the foundation made it their mission to ensure that every United States Senator, Congressman and Congresswoman knew the FealGood Foundation's name, their determination and their inflexibility to never accept "No" for an answer.
On December 22rd, 2010, just three days before Christmas and while holding the US Senate & Congress from starting their holiday break, John and his team of Responders and Volunteers watched the proud moment of a unanimous vote by the entire Senate to pass HR 847.
John and The FealGood Foundation have now made it their mission to assure transparency in the James Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation law. John spreads himself between fund-raising for important causes directly related to the responders and all those affected by 9/11 and its aftermath, to lobbying the many sub-committees involving the Zadroga law and holding forums to ensure that responders know their rights as they pertain to the law. John has now been influential in the passing of two bills since 2004, and continues to strive with his grass roots activism.
Dr. Adriana Feder's research has focused on posttraumatic stress disorder & resilience in trauma-exposed populations, including the conduct of clinical, epidemiological & translational research studies in diverse samples of trauma survivors, including WTC rescue & recovery workers, Vietnam repatriates, trauma-exposed African American populations, primary care patients after the 9/11 attacks, 2005 Pakistan earthquake survivors, and more recently in high-risk adolescents.
As Associate Director for Research at the WTC Mental Health Program at Mount Sinai and Director of the Trauma and Resilience Program at Mount Sinai, Dr. Feder has been Principal Investigator (PI) of five CDC/NIOSH-funded studies on the longitudinal course and biomarkers of PTSD and resilience in WTC rescue and recovery workers, including an ongoing randomized clinical trial of Internet-based psychotherapies with pre-/post-treatment saliva genomic biomarkers, and a recently funded neuroimaging study in WTC responders.
Dr. Feder also has extensive experience in the conduct of clinical trials in patients with mood and anxiety disorders as Co-Investigator of NIH-, U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)-, and Industry-funded clinical trials at the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program (MAP) at Mount Sinai, and was awarded a NARSAD Independent Investigator Award from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation as PI, to conduct a trial of repeated ketamine administration in patients with chronic PTSD.
Mary Fetchet is the driving force behind VOICES, a non-profit organization she co-founded in 2001 following the death of her 24 year old son Brad at the World Trade Center. Her unique background as a mother of a victim, along with over 20 years of expertise as a clinical social worker, influenced VOICES innovative approach to creating a new paradigm in providing long-term support services.
Using social work practices, she guided the development of programs that provide continuity of care and promote resiliency in the lives of victims' families, responders and survivors. Today, Ms. Fetchet is also helping communities heal after other traumatic events through VOICES Center of Excellence for Community Resilience, an initiative that she launched in 2014.
Under her leadership, VOICES launched the 9/11 Living Memorial Project in advance of the 5th anniversary to document the nearly 3,000 lives lost and stories of survivors. As a clinician, she recognized the importance of commemoration and supporting families through the emotional but therapeutic process of honoring their loved ones in a meaningful way. The 9/11 Living Memorial Project is now an extensive digital collection of over 70,000 photographs and personal keepsakes contributed by thousands of family members. The collection is located on VOICES website and is also a core component of the In Memoriam exhibit at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in New York City.
A strong advocate for the rights of victim's families and survivors, and public policy reforms to make the country safer, Ms. Fetchet advocated for an appropriate process for the notification of human remains, the Victim's Compensation Fund and the creation of the 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site. She was also instrumental in campaigning for the 9/11 Commission and the implementation of reforms based on their recommendations. She testified before the 9/11 Commission and the U.S. Congress on five occasions.
Ms. Fetchet's work through the VOICES Center of Excellence for Community Resilience includes establishing public-private partnerships, educational initiatives and research projects to document best practices in preparing communities to more effectively respond to the long-term needs of victims' families, responders and survivors. Through a U.S. Department of Justice grant, VOICES produced a publication, Preparing for After, a resource kit of best practices based on interviews conducted with those who responded to the 9/11 attacks; the Oklahoma City bombing; and the shootings at Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois University and Tucson, Arizona. Currently, she is leading several research projects that are examining the long-term needs of families and communities impacted by traumatic events.
An expert on the long-term needs of victims and survivors, mental health care, preparedness, and national security reforms, she has personally advised organizations and federal agencies both nationally and internationally. Ms. Fetchet has made hundreds of appearances on national television and at conferences in the U.S. and abroad, and contributes regularly to print and radio. Her awards include induction into the Hall of Fame at Columbia School of Social Work in NYC, the Social Work Managers Award, Hometown Heroes on DIRECTTV, ABC News Person of the Year, Moffly Media Light A Fire Award and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams Making a Difference.
Mike Greenberg is the host of ESPN's new morning showGet Up, which will debut on April 2, 2018. For almost two decades, sports fans have been waking up with Greenberg ("Greeny" as he is called) as half of ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike, with co-host Mike Golic. Greenberg joined ESPN in September 1996 as an anchor for the launch of ESPNEWS.
He later anchored SportsCenter for many years, even long after Mike & Mike launched on January 3, 2000. In 2016, Greenberg and Golic were inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters' Broadcasting Hall of Fame. Greenberg was also inducted into Northwestern's Medill Hall of Achievement. Greenberg has written two nonfiction best-sellers, Why My Wife Thinks I'm an Idiot and Mike & Mike's Rules for Sports and Life (co-written with Golic) and two novels, All You Could Ask For and My Father's Wives.
Peter T. Haugen, Ph.D
Director of Mental Health, NYU School of Medicine World Trade Center Health Program
Clinical Center of Excellence (NYU CCE); Clinical Instructor, Department of Psychiatry, NYU School of Medicine.
Peter T. Haugen, Ph.D, Director of Mental Health, NYU School of Medicine World Trade Center Health Program Clinical Center of Excellence (NYU CCE); Clinical Instructor, Department of Psychiatry, NYU School of Medicine.
Dr. Haugen directs the NYU CCE mental health treatment program and has more than 10 years of experience directing mental health data collection protocols in the NYU CCE monitoring and treatment cohorts. His research focuses on the treatment of posttraumatic stress reactions, including posttraumatic stress disorder, in first responders. Dr. Haugen has led projects to identify mechanisms of change in psychotherapy with this population and adapt existing trauma focused psychotherapies for use with WTC responders. He recently completed an international review of stigma and barriers to care in this population.
James P. Kreindler joined Kreindler & Kreindler LLP in 1983 and became a partner in 1987. He is a magna cum laude graduate of Dartmouth College, 1977. He received his J.D. degree from Columbia University in 1980, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone scholar.
He began his career as an Assistant District Attorney in the Kings County (Brooklyn) District Attorneys' Office. Currently, Mr. Kreindler is the co-chair of the Plaintiffs' Committee in the 9/11 Litigation on behalf of the 9/11 families to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for its role in the 9/11 attacks. The lawsuit alleges that members of the government of Saudi Arabia provided critical financial and logistical support to the 9/11 hijackers prior to September 11 , 2001. This case is the first case to proceed under the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act , also known as JASTA, passed by Congress in 2016.
A longtime specialist in aviation accident and terrorist litigation, Mr. Kreindler previously took the lead role as a member of the Plaintiffs' Committee in the Pan Am 103 families' lawsuit against Pan Am and Libya. That litigation resulted in the largest financial recovery for a single disaster in the history of aviation - nearly $3 billion.
Mr. Kushlefsky has litigated a wide variety of wrongful death and significant personal injury cases during his career at Kreindler & Kreindler, and is active in the firm's general tort practice, its complex litigation practice and its aviation practice. He has resolved more than 200 cases for $1 million or more. He is also active in managing the firm's day-to-day operations.
On the general tort and complex litigation side of the practice, Mr. Kushlefsky has litigated diverse cases including general negligence, automobile product liability, medical malpractice, toxic and environmental torts, insurance bad faith, tour operator negligence and hunter negligence. The results he has obtained for clients include an $8.75 million jury verdict against Volvo in a product liability case; a $7.75 million settlement in a school bus accident case; a $15.7 million settlement in a commercial bus accident case; and a $3.3 million settlement in a hunting injury case.
He has handled cases arising from crashes involving major commercial airlines and was appointed by the Federal Court as a member of the Plaintiffs Committee in the litigation arising out of the crash of Swissair Flight 111. He has also been appointed by the Federal Court as a member of the Plaintiffs Committee for liability litigation arising out of the September 11 Terrorist Attacks.
Subsequent to the terrorist attacks, Mr. Kushlefsky established himself as one of the nation's leading experts on the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, representing more than 120 families in the VCF. He was credited with creating the methodology used by the VCF in rescue worker death cases and lectured extensively on the VCF. He was invited to present at Lloyd's in London regarding The Fund as an alternative to litigation. He was also appointed by the Virginia Attorney General's Office to specially represent its interests in federal court litigation related to the Victim Compensation Fund. He was recently appointed Special Counsel by Southern District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein to resolve a conflict of interest in the World Trade Center Disaster Site Litigation.
Mr. Kushlefsky is a member of the American Bar Association (ABA), the American Association for Justice, and the New York State and New York County Bar Associations. He is a Board member of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association and is actively working on efforts to improve New York wrongful death law. He is the editor of the New York Law of Torts, the leading treatise on New York tort law, negligence, products liability law, wrongful death and all other areas of New York tort law.
Dr. Mollie Marti is President and CEO of the National Resilience Institute, a nonprofit organization that equips community helpers with evidence based solutions to strengthen others.
As a social psychologist, attorney, and author, Mollie has researched and taught in the fields of human resilience and leadership for the past two decades, including as an elite performance coach, university professor, and trauma response educator. Host of the Resiliency Matters TV show, Mollie is known for providing practical resilience tools directly to mental health providers, educators, and other community helpers to grow hope and offer help even in the most challenging circumstances.
Matt was a 9/11 First Responder himself and has been dedicated to representing both the 9/11 First Responders and civilian survivors that were either injured or developed illnesses after the attack. As a former NYPD Police Officer and a Paramedic, he and others advocated for the passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 and its extension to aid both first responders and civilian survivors.
Named Advocate of the Year by John Feal from the FealGood Foundation, he has been recognized numerous times for his commitment to the 9/11 community. He continues assist the FealGood Foundation, 9/11 Health Watch, and other groups with developing legislation supportive of the 9/11 Community.
Connie Palmer is a licensed clinical social worker who is an experienced teacher, therapist and school counselor with more than thirty years of experience working with youth and their families. She is currently the Clinical Training Director for Imagine, a Center for Coping with Loss in Mountainside, NJ.
She presents seminars on various topics such as: grief and loss, resilience, shame, parenting, anti-bullying, depression and anxiety.
Joan Reibman, M.D. is a Professor of Medicine and Environmental Medicine at New York University/Bellevue Hospital. She is the Medical Director of the NYU/Bellevue Asthma Airways Environment Program Center, a program initiated to provide state-of the art care and research in asthma and the Medical Director of the HHC World Trade Center Environmental Health, a treatment program for community members with WTC-related illness.
She has been involved in health studies of adverse health effects in the community from environmental exposures to WTC since 2001. In addition, Dr. Reibman has been the recipient of multiple NIH awards and is the Principal Investigator for the New York Consortium of the American Lung Association Asthma Clinical Research Centers.
David J Schonfeld, MD, FAAP established and directs the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement (www.schoolcrisiscenter.org), located at the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work in the University of Southern California.
He is Professor of the Practice in Social Work and Pediatrics at the University of Southern California and Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Prior faculty positions have been in the Department of Pediatrics at Yale University School of Medicine; Head of the Section of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center; and Pediatrician-in-Chief at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children and Chair of Pediatrics at Drexel University School of Medicine.
For over 30 years, he has provided consultation and training to schools on supporting students and staff at times of crisis and loss in the aftermath of numerous school crisis events and disasters within the United States and abroad, including school and community shootings and stabbings in Parkland, FL, Newton, CT, Benton, KY, Las Vegas, NC, Spokane, WA, Marysville, WA, Osaka, Japan, Corning, CA, Aurora, CO, Platte Canyon, CO, Chardon, Oh, and Townville, SC; flooding from Hurricanes Maria in San Juan, Sandy in NYC and NJ, Katrina in New Orleans and Ike in Galveston; tornadoes in Joplin, MO and Alabama; wildfires in Sonoma County, CA and in the Great Smoky Mountains in Sevierville, TN; and the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan, China. He coordinated the training for school crisis response teams for the NYC DOE after the events of September 11, 2001.
Dr. Schonfeld frequently speaks (with over 1,000 presentations) on the topics of crisis and loss and has authored more than 100 scholarly articles, book chapters, and books. He has conducted school-based research (funded by NICHD, NIMH, NIDA, the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, William T Grant Foundation, and other foundations) involving children's understanding of and adjustment to serious illness and death and school-based interventions to promote adjustment and risk prevention. Dr. Schonfeld is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Disaster Preparedness Advisory Council and the National Biodefense Science Board (NBSB)/National Preparedness and Response Science Board (NPRSB). He served as a Commissioner for both the National Commission on Children and Disasters and the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission in CT. He served as President of the Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics from 2006-7.
Dr. Michael Weiden is a Pulmonary Physician who is an Associate Professor at NYU and Medical Officer for the FDNY. Dr. Weiden provides care for WTC exposed FDNY rescue and recovery workers with upper and lower airway injuries.
This clinical experience motivates and informs Dr. Weiden's research. With his research, Dr. Weiden has been able to improve his ability to care for WTC exposed patients.
Dr. Wilson has been the medical director for the Queens World Trade Center Health Program since April of 2013. She is board certified in Internal medicine, Preventive Medicine, and Occupational and Environmental Medicine. She completed her Fellowship in Occupational Medicine at Yale -New Haven in 2012.
In addition she holds a Master's in Public Health from UCLA in Industrial Hygiene.
Hicks Wogan is Manager of Exhibition Development at the National September 11 Memorial Museum. In his role he is responsible for helping to maintain the museum’s permanent exhibitions and developing new temporary exhibitions. His latest is Comeback Season: Sports After 9/11, which opened in June.
He also served as an editor of the Museum’s book No Day Shall Erase You: The Story of 9/11 as Told at the National September 11 Memorial Museum. Prior to joining the 9/11 Memorial Museum in 2014, Hicks worked for other museums and in book publishing. Among his previous jobs, he researched and wrote exhibits for the Newseum in Washington, D.C., and he contributed to books published by the Library of Congress.