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A federal judge yesterday certified a class action in a case stemming from last year’s Hurricane Irene in which advocates for the disabled allege New York City’s emergency preparedness plans did not adequately address the needs of the handicapped. Southern District Judge Jesse Furman (See Profile), making clear that he was not opining on the merits of the case slated for trial Dec. 10, said in a 19-page decision that the Brooklyn Center for Independence for the Disabled and two individual plaintiffs have standing to seek class damages for threat of future harm. “It is, of course, not possible to know with certainty if or when disaster will strike the City, but—as the tragic events of the past few weeks make abundantly clear—it is beyond ‘mere conjecture’ that another disaster, whether natural or man made, will occur and that it will seriously affect members of the proposed class,” Furman wrote in Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled v. Bloomberg, 11 Civ. 6690, noting that there are roughly 900,000 people with disabilities in the city.

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