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Despite Big Risks, Firms Settle Massive Ground Zero Workers Case

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By Laura Strachan, Esq. on December 07, 2010 5:46 AM

At least 95% of the Ground Zero plaintiffs in the World Trade Center settlement had to agree to the settlement reached back in June. Now, six months later, it happened. Individual compensation will be determined based on the severity of the illness claimed and the likelihood that the illness is, in fact, linked to activities at ground zero.

Another impressive aspect of the World Trade Center settlement concerns the legal team that made the class action fund possible. The plaintiffs' lawyers undertook a huge risk by taking these cases on, and had to borrow millions of dollars to do it. While critics in the past have looked only at the fees these plaintiff's firms will earn, few ever look at the risks of failure. "It has been my personal and professional mission to ensure that we negotiate a settlement that is fair and reasonable to all sides and I am extremely heartened that the overwhelming majority of plaintiffs have decided that is exactly what we achieved," said Christine LaSala, President and CEO of the WTC Captive Insurance Company. "I hope that this settlement will bring closure to the heroes on both sides of this litigation who did their best to repair this City and restore this community in those difficult days and months following 9/11."

"We negotiated for over two years to achieve this settlement for our clients, which we truly believe is the best result, given the uncertainty of protracted litigation," PR Newswire quotes senior partner Paul Napoli. "We are working around the clock to conclude settlements we have negotiated with a few other defendants that will add more than $100 million in additional compensation for our clients."

Crafting the settlement was not only a financial challenge, but an emotional one as well. The sizeable settlement figure goes to pay those rescue workers that toiled tirelessly at the Ground Zero site during the days and months following 9/11. The settlement approval represents a much needed financial closure for the victims as well as the legal team that took a huge risk taking this case.

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