U.S. judge postpones World Trade Center worker settlement

12:40, March 13, 2010      

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A U.S. federal judge in Manhattan, New York, on Friday postponed approval of the city's settlement of more than 100,000 lawsuits filed by World Trade Center rescue and response workers for health issues stemming from the terror attacks in 2001, New York local TV channel NY1 reported Friday.

Thousands of workers who claim to have been sickened by dust and debris while coming to the rescue of the WTC on September 11, 2001, will have three months to decide whether to accept the package. If 95 percent don't say yes, the deal is off, local media said.

Judge Alvin Hellerstein was cited as saying Friday that he wants a week to study the deal and let others "weigh in" to make sure it's "fair and appropriate."

Under the massive agreement announced Thursday, New York City and other companies represented by the World Trade Center Captive Insurance Company would be liable for up to 657 million dollars.

Most of the money would come out of a 1 billion dollars grant from the U.S. federal government.

The settlement creates a point system for payouts based on the severity of a person's illness, NY1 said. Some workers would get only a few thousand dollars, while others could get more than 1 million dollars.

On his radio show Friday, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was cited as calling the agreement "good for everybody."

Source: Xinhua
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