Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Deadline Day For Ground Zero Workers Compensation Plan

Yesterday was the deadline day for thousands of Ground Zero workers who are part of a class action to approve a settlement deal that would be administered by Kenneth Feinberg. It will be several more days before we know whether at least 95% of the nearly 10,000 participants approved the plan.
As the deadline for more than 10,000 ground zero workers to opt into a multimillion-dollar settlement with the city and its contractors approached, the federal judge overseeing the cases said on Monday that it would take several more days to tally and verify “the huge influx” of responses.

Until then, Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein of United States District Court in Manhattan ordered the lawyers in the cases not to discuss the status of claims with the news media, “to avoid confusion and speculation.”

The settlement would officially end the lawsuits filed by firefighters, police officers and others who took part in rescue and cleanup operations after the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. The plaintiffs claimed respiratory and other illnesses that they attributed to inadequate protective equipment and supervision by the city at the disaster site.

The plaintiffs have until 11:59 Monday night to file their papers and reach the required threshold of 95 percent approval for the settlement, which would pay up to $712.5 million, to go into effect. The Associated Press reported over the weekend that a leading plaintiffs’ lawyer, Paul J. Napoli, said that 90 percent of those eligible had accepted the deal by last Friday.
This is a totally separate compensation package than the one that has been winding its way through Congress, the James Zadroga Compensation program, which would provide several billion dollars towards medical coverage and additional study of those who worked at Ground Zero following the attacks.

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