The widow of a city cop killed by lung cancer after two months of toxic post-9/11 duty won a bitter four-year fight Tuesday to collect enhanced line-of-duty death benefits.
The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court ruled in favor of Nilda Macri, whose husband Frank was an iron-pumping, non-smoking housing officer known for his buff physique.
“I’m so happy he’s finally acknowledged,” said a teary Nilda Macri after the victory that could benefit other World Trade Center first responders battling cancer.
The decision overturned rulings by the police Medical Board and the Police Pension Fund Board that Macri’s lethal cancer was pre-existing — despite a clean X-ray taken when the hero first responder was injured by debris from the falling towers on 9/11.
“There is no evidence to support the medical board’s conclusion ...that Macri’s cancer was pre-existing,” the court said in a 10-page ruling. “Indeed, there is evidence that just the opposite was the case.”
Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association head Patrick Lynch said the appeals court ruling was crucial for other ailing first responders fighting the same benefits battle.