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9/11 workers exposed to toxic dust approve 625 ml dollar settlement with New York City

By Abdul Nisar

New York, Nov 20 (ANI): Ground Zero workers, who were exposed to toxic debris after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks have reached a settlement with New York City authorities that would reportedly lead to a payout of at least 625 million dollars (392 million pounds) to them.

Over 10,000 firefighters, labourers and police who sued the city and dozens of companies, would collect a total of 625 million dollars, based on their complaints that they were not properly protected during the rescue and clean-up efforts which resulted in many falling sick, the BBC reports.

BBC quoted New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as saying in a statement, "This settlement is a fair and just resolution of these claims, protecting those who came to the aid of this city when we needed it most."

Under terms of the deal, it would only become effective if at least 95 percent of eligible plaintiffs signed on, and just cleared it, with 95.1 percent voting in favour of it.

The individual plaintiffs would reportedly receive compensation ranging from 3,250, dollars for those who have not become ill, up to one million dollars for non-smokers who contracted serious respiratory illnesses within seven months of exposure at the World Trade Center site in 2001 and 2002.

The settlement also provides insurance coverage for certain blood and respiratory cancers contracted by the workers, the report said.

Only 520 opted to reject the deal.

Paul Napoli, chief lawyer for the plaintiffs, described the settlement as "the best result, given the uncertainty of protracted litigation," adding that additional settlements with other companies could get a further 100 million dollars.

It took nearly two years to come to a conclusion regarding negotiations on the deal between the Ground Zero workers and an insurance company representing New York City and nearly 140 companies involved in the clean-up and rescue, the report added. (ANI)

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