New $712.5 Million Settlement in WTC Rescue Worker Lawsuits Reported

Various media outlets are reporting that a new settlement agreement has been reached in <"">World Trade Center emergency responder lawsuits. Attorneys for thousands of injured Ground Zero rescue workers are slated to meet with Federal Judge Alvin Hellerstein in New York City today to present the new proposal.

Since 2003, upwards of 10,000 firefighters, police officers, construction workers and emergency responders have filed lawsuits against 90 defendants over illnesses they say were caused by exposure to toxic dust at Ground Zero following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. They allege that the defendants, including New York City, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and construction companies, failed to adequately supervise and protect them with safety equipment during rescue and clean-up efforts.

A $657.5 million settlement announced in March would have paid individual plaintiffs anywhere from $3,200 to $2 million, before attorney fees, in exchange for dropping their suits. Payouts for the settlement were to come from WTC Captive Insurance, an entity created with $1 billion federal grant that provides insurance coverage to the City of New York and its debris-removal contractors.

When it was proposed, Judge Hellerstein objected to some of its provisions and ordered the settlement to be renegotiated. Among other things, he said legal fees had to be lowered and paid by WTC Captive over and above what was paid to injured plaintiffs.

The New York Times is reporting that the new settlement amounts to $712.5 Million. NBC New York is reporting that attorneys have agreed to reduce their fees from 33 percent to 25 percent of the settlement, while WTC Captive Insurance has agreed to add a minimum of $50 million more to the pot for victim compensation. That number could go up to $100 million depending on how many clients agree to accept the settlement, the report said.

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