World Trade Center Settlement Delay

A federal judge has sent a proposed settlement of up to $657.5 million to compensate about 10,000 workers whose health was damaged during the rescue and clean up at the World Trade Center following the terrorist attack of 9/11 back to the drawing board. The decision came just a week after New York City officials and plaintiffs’ lawyers announced the settlement. U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein Friday ordered the parties to renegotiate a deal, saying that too much of the settlement – about one-third – was going to plaintiffs’ lawyers and not enough to the victims. According to a New York Law Journal report via Hellerstein also indicated he would demand that attorneys’ fees not come from the money set aside for the settlement, but from other assets of the federally funded WTC Captive Insurance Co which was established to provide coverage for the city. In a statement, WTC Captive Insurance Co said it strongly believes the settlement to be fair, providing timely, guaranteed compensation based on the severity of the claimed injury and the legal strength of that claim. It said attorney fees in this case have been “reasonable† given the complex legal and scientific issues, defenses that can and have been raised, and the sheer volume of approximately 616,000 separate claims. Check out a March 19 New York Times article for further reactions to the decision. Check out I.I.I. information about terrorism risk and insurance.

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