A federal judge has signed a revised legal settlement for ground zero workers that could pay them as much as $712.5 million.
The Associated Press reports the plaintiff's lawyers have also agreed to reduce their fees from one third to one fourth of the settlement; one of the reasons the judge did not agree to the earlier proposal back in March.
U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein who has been overseeing the lawsuit since 2003 rejected the earlier settlement saying it was too low, but after three months of negotiations and a new settlement in front of him, he is calling it a "very good deal." There are approximately 10,000 workers involved in the lawsuit and he is encouraging them to approve the deal. 95% of them must sign on for the settlement to be final.
One of the plaintiff lawyers, Marc J. Bern says, "This settlement ensures guaranteed, immediate and just compensation to the heroic men and women who performed their duties without consideration of the health implications" the New York Times reports.
Mayor Bloomberg said this morning on his weekly WOR interview, the settlement in the lawsuit is "the best deal." He encouraged workers who have been sickened to seriously consider taking it.
The rescue and clean up workers sued the city because of respiratory illnesses and other injuries they say they suffered from the dust at the World Trade Center site. They claim they were not provided adequate protective equipment and supervision on the job.
THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN UPDATED WITH TODAY'S NEWS: Mayor Bloomberg says the settlement is "the best deal."