New York, NY —
A federal judge has rejected a legal settlement that would have given over half a billion dollars to 10,000 ground zero workers sickened by ash and dust.
REPORTER: US District Judge Alvin Hellerstein said the proposed sum --between about $550 and $650 million -– is not enough, and too much of it would be eaten up by legal fees. His ruling sends the plaintiffs back to the bargaining table with the city. Christine LaSala heads the billion-dollar liability fund set up by Congress to defend the city and the World Trade Center building contractors against lawsuits.
LASALA: I am very disappointed that the judge has now made it very difficult, if not impossible, for the people bringing these claims to obtain fair, timely and just compensation, a settlement that they have long waited for.
REPORTER: LaSala says her lawyers will confer with city officials and "try to find a way forward." Several ground zero workers asked to speak about their illnesses at yesterday's hearing said they were pleased with the judge's ruling.