New York Times
November 19, 2010
After a wrenching seven-year battle, more than 10,000 workers who sued New York City over health damages they claimed after the 9/11 recovery efforts have approved a settlement, clearing the way for payouts totaling at least $625 million, lawyers said Friday.
Their responses, delivered to a federal judge in Manhattan, ended months of wrangling over whether the city and its contractors were shortchanging the workers for the respiratory and other illnesses they developed after toiling in the smoldering ruins of the World Trade Center.
The judge, Alvin K. Hellerstein of United States District Court, threw out a smaller settlement in March, arguing that the plaintiffs deserved more and lawyers were getting too big a cut.
A 95 percent approval rate was required for the latest accord to take effect. The plaintiffs barely cleared the threshold by the Tuesday night deadline they were given: 95.1 percent of the 10,563 workers accepted the settlement’s terms, according to documents filed on Friday.