More Than 10,000 WTC Disaster Site Litigation Claimants File Opt-In Documents

More Than 10,000 WTC Disaster Site Litigation Claimants File Opt-In Documents

NEW YORK - (Mealey's) More than 10,000 of the claimants eligible to participate in the World Trade Center Disaster Site settlement process in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York have chosen to opt in, according to an announcement posted Nov. 19 by Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein (In re:  World Trade Center Disaster Site Litigation, No. 21-100 [consolidated], S.D. N.Y.).

Matthew Garretson of the Garretson Group Inc., the allocation neutral in the settlement process, notified Judge Hellerstein today that 10,043 eligible plaintiffs filed opt-in documents.  The deadline for filing documents was 11:59 p.m. Nov. 16.

The plaintiffs are first responders and workers who helped clear the rubble left from the collapse of the World Trade Center towers after the Sept. 11, 2001, attack.

Judge Hellerstein approved the settlement process agreement on June 23 based on an agreement to settle the claims against New York City and its contractors.  Including subsequent settlements, the fund for the claims is more than $720 million. 

According to Garretson, 87.4 percent of the 2,726 so-called Tier 1 plaintiffs filed documents by the deadline.  Tier 1 plaintiffs have no manifest injury.

Some 96.8 percent of the 1,619 eligible Tier 2 plaintiffs filed documents, according to Garretson.  Tier 2 plaintiffs have a qualifying disease and a medical diagnosis of the disease.

Of the 807 eligible Tier 3 plaintiffs, 97.3 percent filed documents to opt in, according to Garretson.  Tier 3 claimants have a medical diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, laryngitis or pharyngitis, chronic rhinosinusitis, upper digestive disease, sleep disorders or restrictive lung disease.  Tier 3 claimants must submit documentation of the diagnosis to the allocation neutral.

According to Garretson, 98.1 percent of the 5,411 eligible Tier 4 plaintiffs opted in.  Tier 4 claimants have a diagnosis of impairment from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, interstitial lung disease, asthma or reactive airways disease, laryngitis or pharyngitis, chronic rhinosinusitis, upper digestive injury, obstructive sleep apnea, death of the primary claimant related to World Trade Center exposure, solid tumor cancer, blood cancer or lung function of less than 80 percent of predicted.  Tier 4 claimants must submit a claim to the allocation neutral. 

The total number of eligible plaintiffs is 10,563, according to Garretson.

[Editor's Note:  Full coverage will be in the Dec. 7 issue of Mealey's Emerging Toxic Torts.  In the meantime, the notice is available at www.mealeysonline.com or by calling the Customer Support Department at 1-800-833-9844.  Document #15-101207-039B.  For all of your legal news needs, please visit www.lexisnexis.com/mealeys.] 

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For more information, call editor Bill G. Lowe at 215-988-7733, or e-mail him at bill.lowe@lexisnexis.com.