New York, NY —
U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein approved a settlement, Wednesday of up to $716 million for sick 9/11 workers and responders. Now, it's up to the 10,000 plaintiffs whether to accept the offer that would end a seven-year legal battle.
Ninety-five percent of them must opt into the deal by the end of September for the settlement to take effect.
Retired police detective Candiace Baker says she's on the fence. That's because she says she'll only get about $20,000 for her breast cancer.
"It's not a common cold, it's not something you can take Theraflu or Robitussin and it goes away, its something that's treated with radiation, surgery, chemotherapy," Baker says.Plaintiffs' lawyers say people with breast cancers and other tumors would get relatively lower payouts because medical evidence doesn't suggest they're connected to inhaling pollutants. Those afflicted with less serious ailments could get $3,250, while people with illnesses like laryngitis or sleep apnea could get $12,000.
The judge rejected an earlier proposal that would have given more money to the lawyers. He praised the latest version and said plaintiffs would have a difficult time getting a better deal if they pursued their cases individually.