Zadroga Bill Amended to Allow for Claims by WTC Plaintiffs Who Have Settled
New York, NY July 28, 2010, For Immediate Release: Congress has amended the language of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 to allow for benefit claims by first responders and other World Trade Center Disaster Site clean up workers who have settled their litigation claims against the City of New York, its contractors and other defendants. The amendment to the bill’s original language now provides that any person who has settled a civil litigation claim that was commenced after December 22, 2003 and settled and released all claims before the final enactment of the Zadroga bill will be permitted to file a claim for benefits under the Zadroga bill. “Enactment” of a Bill means that the bill has been finally approved by the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate and signed by the President. Any settlement received prior to Zadroga’s enactment will be deemed a “set-off” (a dollar-for-dollar deduction) against the benefits payable under Zadroga for a Victims’ Compensation Fund payment only. The litigation set-off will not reduce the health benefits payable under Zadroga.
We expect the House of Representatives to bring the amended Zadroga Bill to a vote by a practice called “suspension” which means that two-thirds of the House must vote in favor of the Bill, not simply a one-vote majority as needed in an ordinary vote by the full House. The suspension vote is anticipated to take place by the end of this week. If not, the vote will await the end of the Summer recess. Once the House has voted, the Senate must take up the Bill but has not yet done so.
“This is fantastic news” said Marc Jay Bern, a Senior Partner at Worby Groner Edelman & Napoli Bern, LLP, one of the lead attorneys representing plaintiffs in the Federal Court actions arising from WTC workers’ claims of illness due to toxic exposures at the site. “We have always believed that it was wrong to ask these brave men and women, some of whom are gravely ill and suffering, to make the choice between real benefits available to them here and now and the possibility of another avenue of assistance that might never come to pass,” Bern continued. Plaintiff’s Co-Liaison Counsel Paul Napoli, also a Senior Partner with Worby Groner, et al., echoed Bern’s sentiment: “We want to be sure that all of the eligible plaintiffs can accept the settlement being offered to them through the litigation today secure in the knowledge that they will not be impairing their ability to seek benefits later under Zadroga.” A copy of the new text of the bill, still before Congress, will be posted on the Worby firm’s website for WTC claims: www.877WTChero.com.
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- Contact Information
- Marc Jay Bern
- Senior Partner
- Worby Groner Edelman & Napoli Bern, LLP
- Contact via E-mail
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