Thursday, May 19, 2011

Birnbaum to work as Ground Zero Special Master

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Justice Department plans to appoint Sheila Birnbaum to run the $2.8 billion fund for Ground Zero workers.  Here's an excerpt from the story:

The new fund was created late last year to provide compensation and health care for those who became ill after being exposed to the debris of World Trade Center rubble.

Ground Zero workers, as well as nearby residents and office workers who also breathed in the dust of the site, are eligible for compensation if the special master concludes their injuries are the result of such exposure.

. . .

According to people involved in the process, the Obama administration is concerned the fund could be swamped with thousands of applications for compensation from people who were many blocks away and now claim they have suffered after having watching the planes strike the buildings.

"The real challenge here is going to be figuring out what is and isn't compensable,'' said lawyer Noah Kushlefsky, who represents Ground Zero workers. "This fund is going to be harder than the last one, because the last one largely focused on the people who had died.''

Justice Department lawyers have already begun working out those rules, but they won't be finalized until the summer. In October, the government plans to start accepting claims for compensation.


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