"We are extremely happy to be able to confirm that we have met and, in fact, exceeded the 95% threshold set forth in the Settlement Process Agreement ('SPA') with the City of New York and its Contractors," said Paul J. Napoli, Senior Partner of Worby Groner Edelman & Napoli Bern, LLP, who was appointed in 2004 as Plaintiffs' Co-Liaison Counsel in the federal litigation pending before the Hon. Alvin K. Hellerstein in the United States District Court in lower Manhattan. "Now we can move forward and see that our clients, who have suffered far too long without compensation for their serious illnesses and injuries, receive the help and closure they so desperately need," Napoli continued.
As reported by the Allocation Claims Neutral today, settlement opt-in numbers are as follows. A total of 10,043 eligible plaintiffs have submitted opt-in documents. This figure does not account for deficiencies in some of the plaintiffs' documents that will have to be corrected. Broken down by injury "Tier" level, of the 10,043 eligible plaintiffs who have submitted documents, opt-in numbers indicate that:
- Tier 1: 2,383 out of 2,726 eligible Tier 1 plaintiffs (87.4%);
- Tier 2: 1,567 out of 1,619 eligible Tier 2 plaintiffs (96.8%);
- Tier 3: 785 out of 807 eligible Tier 3 plaintiffs (97.3%);
- Tier 4: 5,308 out of 5,411 eligible Tier 4 plaintiffs (98.1%);
- All Tiers: 10,043 out of 10,563 all eligible plaintiffs (95.1%).
The original SPA with the City is worth $625-$712.5 million, depending on the percentage of overall plaintiffs opting in to the settlement. That settlement has been made sweeter by a group of additional settlements negotiated with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey ($47.5 million), two of the three contractors responsible for work performed at the Fresh Kills landfill in Staten Island with WTC debris ($24.3 million), the insurers for the Marine defendants responsible for the barges transporting WTC debris ($28 million), respirator manufacturer Survivair ($4.15 million) and Tishman ($1.4 million).
Bill Groner, another Senior Partner in the Worby firm, echoed Napoli's satisfaction with the result of the months-long efforts to contact each of their 10,000-plus clients and obtain their executed settlement papers. "We are thrilled to successfully conclude on behalf of the settling plaintiffs what is believed to be one of the most complex mass torts in history arising out of a horrific event that has forever changed our Country. Our clients sacrificed their safety and health to come to the urgent need of their fellow citizens, their City and our Nation and providing them with compensation for their resulting injuries and suffering is long overdue. We are so happy to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel for these deserving clients," said Groner.
Asked whether latecomers to the settlement might still choose to submit their signed settlement documents and obtain settlement funds despite the expiration of the opt-in deadline at midnight on November 16, Napoli could not say with certainty whether the Allocation Neutral and the Court would accept such late-filed papers. "We did everything humanely possible to help our clients decide whether to accept the offer in time to meet the deadline. Of course we will try to convince the Allocation Neutral and the Court to allow late comers to opt in, but there is certainly no guarantee that such late comers will be accommodated now that the deadline has passed."