The judge overseeing a lawsuit by thousands of ground zero workers exposed to World Trade Center dust has called a proposed new settlement that gives them more money "a very good deal." US District Judge Alvin Hellerstein signed an order giving preliminary approval to the settlement, clearing the way for a public hearing later this month. For it to be final, 95% of the plaintiffs must sign off.
In March, Hellerstein rejected an initial settlement between the city and workers. He called the $575 million to $657 million deal too stingy for the most seriously ill responders and too rich for lawyers. The new deal raises the amount of the settlement to $712 million and reduces the fees lawyers would collect from one-third to one-fourth of the settlement.