Judge Rejects 9/11 First Responders Settlement as Too Small

Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Judge Alvin Hellerstein

Police, firefighters and other rescuers who worked at Ground Zero following the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, deserve a better settlement than was negotiated on their behalf, says U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein.

Rejecting an agreement that would have paid between $575 million to $657 million, Hellerstein said the awards were not enough for the approximately 10,000 first responders who risked their lives at the wreckage, many of whom have become seriously ill with respiratory ailments. The federal judge also said the settlement was too complicated and needs to be redrafted under his supervision.
Attorneys stood to receive one-third of the entire settlement—money that would have come out of the plaintiffs’ share. Hellerstein objected as well to these provisions, saying the lawyers should be paid from the special insurance fund, the WTC Captive Insurance Co., that was created following the disaster with $1 billion in federal money.
Plaintiffs hailed Hellerstein’s decision to stick up for them. “I’m very proud of the compassion and bravery the judge has shown,” Richard Volpe, a former police detective who had to retire after his kidneys failed, told the New York Daily News. “I don’t know what the next step is. I don’t know if the judge knows. But it is a good step.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Federal Judge Rejects World Trade Settlement (by Jonathan Perlow, Courthouse News Service)
Federal Judge Orders More Talks on 9/11 Deal (by Mireya Navarro, New York Times)
Suffering 9/11 Heroes Applaud Judge Alvin Hellerstein's Ruling to Renegotiate Settlement (by Alison Gendar and Corky Siemaszko, New York Daily News)


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