On October 29, 2021, Governor Kathy Hochul signed a bill (drafted by Grey & Grey managing partner Robert Grey and prioritized by TWU Local 100) that opens a one-year claim-filing window for the spouses and children of workers who previously died of cancer related to occupational exposure to diesel exhaust.
The genesis of this law was the death of a TWU member who was exposed to diesel exhaust during the course of his working career. His widow’s successful pursuit of a claim for workers’ compensation death benefits is believed to have been the first successful claim for diesel exhaust-related lung cancer.
When the case was won, it raised concern that other families may have lost a spouse or parent to diesel-related cancer before learning that it was possible to file a claim. The new law gives them that chance – but only if they file before October 29, 2022. Families of transit workers, construction workers, airport workers and others who had occupational exposure to diesel exhaust, developed lung or other inhalation-related cancer, and passed away should be sure to consult a lawyer and file a claim as soon as possible.
Importantly, the law also recognizes that occupational exposure to diesel exhaust can have deadly consequences – another landmark in the battle for recognition of occupational disease.