$27.5 Million for 9/11 Workers

Published: November 6, 2010

A group of workers who claimed they suffered health problems as a result of being exposed to debris from ground zero during its removal and transfer to a landfill on Staten Island stand to receive $27.5 million in a settlement announced on Friday.

The workers are a subgroup of the more than 10,000 plaintiffs who must decide whether to accept a far larger settlement with the city and its contractors over respiratory illnesses and injuries that they say they sustained because the defendants failed to ensure the safety of the workers after the Sept. 11 attack.

Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein of United States District Court in Manhattan, who is overseeing the mass litigation, said in an order issued Friday that the plaintiffs affected by the latest settlement could claim money from it only if they opted into the larger settlement with the city.

That settlement, up to $712.5 million, requires the approval of 95 percent of the plaintiffs by Monday to be valid.

The workers affected by the smaller settlement had sued the city and Weeks Marine Inc., a marine transportation company, charging that they were exposed to contaminants at the piers or on the barges that ran between the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan and the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island during the debris removal.

Judge Hellerstein said that Lloyd’s of London and London Insurance Companies, which insured the city and the barge company, agreed to pay $27.5 million to the workers and contribute an additional $500,000 for administrative costs. He said individual settlement amounts would be paid according to the type and the severity of injuries and under the same rules as those used for the larger settlement, which will be paid by the W.T.C. Captive Insurance Company from a federally financed fund.

Last month, lawyers for the plaintiffs also reached a separate, $47 million settlement with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, owner of the World Trade Center, on behalf of another subgroup of more than 9,000 workers. That settlement, however, is not contingent upon acceptance of any other agreement.

In all cases, the judge has found the settlements “fair and reasonable.”

9/11 rescue workers have until Monday to accept $800 million set


9/11 rescue workers have until Monday to accept $800 million settlement

By Agence France-Presse
Sunday, November 7th, 2010

911workernycsept11 9/11 rescue workers have until Monday to accept $800 million settlement Thousands of rescue workers sickened after the September 11 attacks in New York have until the end of Monday to accept a settlement that could near 800 million dollars.

A settlement on Friday saw a subgroup of workers compensated 28 million dollars for exposure to debris removed and transferred from Ground Zero to Staten Island by marine transportation company Weeks Marine.

But US District Court Judge Alvin Hellerstein said in a related order that the plaintiffs could only claim compensation for it if they backed the larger agreement for up to 712.5 million dollars.

That settlement with New York City was reached in June and requires approval from 95 percent of the plaintiffs by 11:59 pm (0459 GMT) on Monday in order to be validated.

The proposed funds would be used for payments to the roughly 10,000 firefighters, health workers, police and other emergency responders who sought legal remedy after falling ill from toxic dust and debris emanating from the destroyed World Trade Center nine years ago.

Paul Napoli, who leads a legal team representing most of the plaintiffs, said he has since brokered additional agreements with other defendants, bringing the total potential compensation to 796.45 million dollars.

And further agreements are still possible, further increasing the amount.

Micheline Tang of Kekst and Company said proposed compensation from different defendants now totals 811.5 million dollars, but noted it could be inaccurate to aggregate the figures because different plaintiffs are suing different defendants.

"In addition, compensation will be determined based on the severity of the injury and the strength of the claim," she told AFP.

Her firm represents the WTC Captive Insurance Company, which will pay the larger settlement out of a federally financed fund.

Lawyers also reached a separate 47.5 million dollar settlement last month with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owned the World Trade Center.

Napoli said he and his colleagues "are very happy we have reached agreements with these defendants, following extensive negotiations that lasted several years."

"Negotiations with remaining defendants have been going on as well and we hope that the latest settlements will encourage those defendants to take this opportunity to resolve the remaining plaintiffs' claims against them in the near future," he added in a statement on Saturday.

In all cases, Hellerstein found the allocation process to be "fair and reasonable."