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World Trade Center Judge Issues Order Praising Plaintiffs’ Lawyers and Settlement


(New York New York, For Immediate Release): United States District Court Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein, who oversees the In re: World Trade Center Disaster Site Litigation and the pending Settlement of the claims against the City of New York and its contractors, issued an Order on Friday praising the ongoing efforts of Plaintiffs’ Liaison Counsel Worby Groner Edelman & Napoli Bern, LLP and urging plaintiffs to opt-in to the Settlement. The Order was issued to acknowledge that the Napoli firm had written to the Judge advising that it was withdrawing its prior application for reimbursement of six million dollars of litigation financing expense as part of the plaintiffs’ litigation expenses. The effect of the Worby firm’s disclaimer of those expenses, along with other disclaimers of properly-sought disbursements for such matters as expert fees, consultants and publicity, adds approximately seven million dollars ($7 million) to the settlement funds that are available to compensate the injured Ground Zero workers. A copy of the Court’s Order, entitled “Notice of Response to Napoli Bern’s Letter Announcing Intent to Withdraw Interest Expense” may be found on the Court’s website.

The Court’s order also acknowledged that the Worby Firm has obtained significant waivers of liens held by Workers Compensation and other carriers. These waivers, which continue to accrue as negotiations with the carriers are ongoing, have thus far added approximately fifty million additional dollars ($50 million) to the Settlement fund. Without these waivers, obtained through dogged negotiations by the Worby firm’s attorneys, settling plaintiffs would have been required to pay back any Workers Compensation benefits they had thus far received. Even more importantly, the compensation carriers have agreed that a settling plaintiff will not forego future compensation benefits, as is usually the case when a personal injury litigation is settled or a successful verdict paid.

“These recent activities by the lawyers representing plaintiffs substantially improve a settlement that already was fair and reasonable,” says the Court’s Order. The Order continues: “The Worby … firms have been ready, willing and able to represent plaintiffs when other firms were unwilling to accept the risk. They have prosecuted these cases zealously for more than six years, incurring substantial expense in the face of uncertain chances for recovery. Their ongoing concern for the best interests of their clients is evident in their most recent disclaimers and activities.”

“We are very gratified by the Court’s Order recognizing our efforts on behalf of these heroic clients,” said Worby Senior Partner Paul J. Napoli. “We can finally see the light at the end of a long tunnel representing many years of hard work on our clients’ behalf and we hope that they will all join in the Settlement so that they can reap the benefits of our efforts and so that they and their families can begin to put the horrors of Ground Zero behind them.” The firm also announced that prior-mailed statements of litigation disbursements sent to their Ground Zero clients will be revised to reflect that the interest expense will no longer be charged against their settlement awards.


 WTC Settlement

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