Thursday, October 02, 2014

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Federal Judge Approves New WTC First Responder Settlement

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A federal judge signed off Thursday on the newest proposed settlement between September 11th first responders who got ill after working at the World Trade Center site and the city.

U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein says the latest proposal, which raises the amount of the settlement to between $625 million and $712 million is "a very good deal."

Hellerstein signed an order dismissing the lawsuit – paving the way for a public hearing on June 23.

"What we think we have been able to achieve is a very fair compromise which will end this seven years of litigation. It will provide a prompt way for the victims to receive the compensation and the mayor I know is particularly pleased," said City Corporation Counsel attorney Michael Cardoza.

"This is a settlement that every one of these first responders should accept," said the plaintiffs' attorney Nicholas Papain.

If approved by 95 percent of the plaintiffs, the 10,000 workers would receive an additional $125 million.

In March, Hellerstein blocked the original settlement, which was between $575 million and $657 million. He called the deal too stingy for the most seriously ill responders and too rich for lawyers.

The new deal reduces the fees lawyers would collect from one-third to one-fourth of the settlement.

The city's insurer says if the deal is accepted, most of the money is expected to be paid out within a year from September.

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