Monday, March 15, 2010
Judge Hellerstein has scheduled a "fairness hearing" in the 9/11 First Responders Settlement (the case is known as In re World Trade Center Disaster Site Litigation) to take place on April 12, the New York Times Reports. Next Friday (3/19) he will meet with the parties to give them his impressions of the settlement. The judge also said he may reduce attorneys fees awards to as low as 15% (from the 30% that most retainer agreements require).
Kenneth Feinberg, the special master overseeing the 9/11 Victim's Compensation Fund is reported as saying that the only reason these workers weren't compensated under that fund was that they had not fallen ill when the fund closed in 2003. I predict the compensation will try to mirror what that fund did. Feinberg's dissatisfaction with that process, which he handled very well, is chronicled in his book What Is Life Worth?
I have it on good authority that the federal government was considering reopening the 9/11 fund to deal with these cases, but the settlement has mooted that idea (and whether it would have actually come to pass is an open question).
An unnamed tort management firm has already been appointed to handle the claims. The administrator in charge of evaluating cases and meting out awards will be appointed in a few weeks.
The Times article can be found here: Hurdles Remain for Ground Zero Settlement.