John Feal, Founder of FealGood Foundation, Settles His 9/11 Claims
New York, New York October 3, 2010, For Immediate Release: In documents filed on the District Court’s publicly-accessible docket, the attorneys representing John Feal, outspoken advocate for the rights of the men and women injured while working in the debris removal and clean up operations at and around the World Trade Center site following the 9/11 attacks, confirmed that Mr. Feal has settled his own claims against one of the city’s contractors, in the 21 MC 100 litigation. This settlement is under the auspices of the WTC Captive Insurance Company and the lawsuit is overseen by the Honorable Alvin K. Hellerstein for the In re: World Trade Center Disaster Site Litigations. This settlement is particularly notable, as Mr. Feal has been an outspoken advocate for reopening the Victim’s Compensation Fund, under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 (“Zadroga Bill”) in lieu of settlement benefits.
Mr. Feal’s settlement was for an undisclosed amount. The court filing of a “Stipulation of Discontinuance” was made on September 28, 2010, confirming that Mr. Feal has “settled all past, present and future claims...relating to and arising out of The World Trade Center” case. Remarkably, Mr. Feal’s own settlement comes before the enactment of the Zadroga Bill or the reopening of the Victim’s Compensation Fund (“VCF”). While Feal has put out a press release claiming that his settlement was not part of the pending mass tort claims, the stipulation filed with the Court clearly bears the master docket number 21 MC 100 that applies to that mass tort litigation.
Attorney Paul J. Napoli does not represent Mr. Feal but he does represent some 10,000 of Feal’s fellow Ground Zero workers and serves as Plaintiffs’ Co-Liaison Counsel in the In re: World Trade Center Disaster Site Litigations pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Asked about the settlement of Feal’s claims, Napoli said: “I applaud John Feal for his courage. His settlement is a sure sign that John has recognized that if he settles his litigation claims, he will get a second bite at the apple under Zadroga when it is passed by the Senate and signed by the President. John Feal has shown the public and other 9/11 heroes that the best option presently available for compensation now is to settle their pending lawsuit by joining in the SPA. His case is an individual case, paid by the Captive, overseen by Judge Hellerstein, just like all the cases eligible under the Captive Settlement approved by the Court. We support John Feal’s position and stand with him in support of his settlement with the WTC Captive and in his ongoing efforts to secure passage and enactment of the Zadroga Bill.”
Speaking to other Ground Zero claimants who remain undecided about their own settlement options, Mr. Napoli said: “If you have not yet opted into the settlement with the Captive, you should opt-in now so that you will avoid losing the additional compensation you may be entitled to if Zadroga passes. By opting into the settlement with the Captive, you will have the benefit of potentially securing compensation from both sources -- your lawsuit and Zadroga. Therefore, if you want to obtain guaranteed compensation under the Captive settlement and protect your rights to any additional compensation you may be entitled to under the Zadroga Bill, you must opt-in to the settlement with the City and its Contractors immediately.” Acknowledging the tight time limits that are part of the Settlement Agreement with the City, Napoli’s partner Marc Jay Bern added: “There are only 36 days to go before the November 8th deadline for settling under the SPA; and our law firm needs all the time available to process your forms and make sure that they contain all necessary documentation.”
Bern added: “John Feal’s settlement sets the standard that all responders should follow: (1) settle your World Trade Center case now for compensation; and (2) receive additional compensation benefits from the Zadroga Bill if it is ever enacted. Two opportunities for compensation are rarely afforded to plaintiffs in a personal injury lawsuit.” Continuing, Bern said: “Mr. Feal made an intelligent choice, indeed, many would say the only choice and people would do well to follow Feal’s example.”
In order for plaintiffs to receive compensation from both their lawsuit and the Zadroga Bill they must opt-in to the settlement with the City of New York and its Contractors by completing their settlement documents and returning them to their attorneys prior to the enactment of the Zadroga Bill.
- Contact Information
- Paul J. Napoli
- Senior Partner
- Worby Groner Edelman & Napoli Bern, LLP
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