NEW YORK (AP) — A 71-year-old Colorado woman severely injured in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing was left elated and then disappointed this week after a court reinstated a $5.2 million jury award for her injuries two days before the owner of the now-destroyed twin towers delayed payment by planning another appeal.
"She feels victimized again," Linda Nash's lawyer, Louis Mangone, said Friday after it was learned that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey plans to challenge a unanimous ruling Tuesday by the Manhattan Appellate Division in Nash's favor. The appeals court said another court erred when it vacated Nash's award after the Port Authority attacked her case on a legal theory related to other injury cases.
The Port Authority in an email declined to comment on the case. It filed a notice Thursday indicating it plans to ask the state's highest court to review the ruling. Those prospects are uncertain, though, because the Manhattan Appellate Division said in its decision that the bistate agency had failed years ago to appeal either the liability or the damages determination in the Nash case.
"The Port Authority ought not to be permitted a second bite at the apple at the expense of the elderly plaintiff, who suffered traumatic brain injuries over 20 years ago, and will now never see a penny of her $5.2 million final judgment," the Manhattan Appellate Division wrote.
Mangone said his client was delighted when she heard the award was reinstated, but was "very, very disappointed" to learn another appeal was planned.
Blair Fensterstock, a lawyer who represented victims of the bombing, called the Port Authority's latest appeal plans "really outrageous."
"It's an interesting maneuver to delay yet again the Nash verdict, but it is a wasteful and frivolous attempt to do so," he said.
Meanwhile, the size of Nash's award with interest and other charges is likely approaching $10 million, lawyers said.
Nash of Durango, Colorado, was awarded the damages in 2009 at a trial in which she testified she was working for Deloitte & Touche as a senior actuarial and benefits consultant when she got out of her car to return to work and was knocked unconscious by the February 1993 explosion in a parking garage beneath the trade center. Firefighters looking for a colleague who had fallen into the six-story-deep bomb crater found Nash in debris.
She testified she was fired from her $125,000 job in mid-1994 because she could no longer function while coping with post-traumatic stress disorder, memory problems and anxiety around crowds or when surprised.
Six people were killed and more than 1,000 others were injured in the attack. Six Islamic extremists were convicted. All are serving life prison sentences. Among those convicted was Ramzi Yousef, the attack's mastermind. His uncle, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, later claimed to be behind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that demolished the 110-story towers. He is awaiting trial before a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.