Nov 10, 2010
The city is giving more than 10,000 workers an extra eight days to decide whether to settle their lawsuits over illnesses they attribute to exposure to environmental hazards during the rescue and cleanup work at ground zero.
The plaintiffs had until late Monday night to opt into a settlement of up to $712.5 million; a 95 percent approval level was required for the settlement to go into effect. But lawyers for the plaintiffs asked for an extension from the WTC Captive Insurance Company, which will pay individual settlement amounts out of a federally financed fund. In a letter to the lawyers on Tuesday, the insurance company extended the deadline to Nov. 16.
Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein, the federal district court judge overseeing the litigation, approved the extension, issuing an order saying that “the huge influx of plaintiffs opting into the settlement continues to tax the capacity to process” the plaintiffs’ documents.
He asked the parties to report whether the responses had reached the 95 percent approval rate “as soon as possible” after Nov. 18.