BY WILLIAM MURPHY STAFF WRITER
Relatives of a dozen city firefighters who died on Sept. 11 cannot sue Motorola Inc. and the city for problems with department radios, a federal appeals court panel ruled Monday.
The three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that the lawsuit was barred by the decision of the relatives to file claims with the federal Victim Compensation Fund.
In addition to damages, the relatives were hoping that the suit would reveal evidence to support their contention that the radios were defective.
The appeals court noted the emotion of the case, but decided it on strictly procedural grounds.
The law creating the federal compensation fund "balanced the certainty of no-fault recovery against the relinquishment of one's right to bring a federal action -- created by the statute -- for injuries arising from the disaster," the three-judge panel said.
The radios in use that day, which were the subject of the suit, were Sabre model Motorolas that were put back into service earlier in the year after a newer Motorola model delivered in 2000, the XTS3500, was found to have deficiencies. That model was returned to use in 2002.
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