Judge: Lawsuits Brought by Workers Beyond Ground Zero Can Proceed

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The federal judge in the lawsuit of World Trade Center workers and first responders has cleared the way for additional cases to proceed.

Most of the attention has focused on rescuers and cleanup workers at the World Trade Center site, some of whom are sick, and some of whom worry they might get sick someday. They are the lion’s share of the 10,000 plaintiffs. But another group of more than 1,000 workers who cleaned up buildings outside of Ground Zero are also suing the city and various property-owners and commercial tenants.

Those lawsuits have been on hold, but Judge Alvin Hellerstein says more than 600 contract cleaners may now start giving depositions. They're suing Verizon over alleged problems with decontamination work at the company’s downtown office building. Judge Hellerstein invited others to apply to have their lawsuits proceed, too.

Last month, Hellerstein rejected a proposed settlement that could be worth more than $600 million. He gave the city and its opponents 90 days to re-negotiate an agreement, but says he has yet to see any progress.