November 19th, 2010
02:01 PM ET

NYC, 9/11 first responders finalize settlement

A settlement in New York City will pay out hundreds of millions of dollars to ground zero workers exposed to toxic debris after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, lawyers said Friday.

Plaintiffs narrowly approved the deal after facing a Tuesday night deadline that required 95 percent of some 10,000 people who worked at ground zero to approve the measure, according to Marc Berns, an attorney for the plaintiffs.

The agreement concludes a seven-year fight between the city and first responders, who have said they were not properly outfitted for rescue and cleanup efforts after the 9/11 attacks, leaving them exposed to toxic dust that later prompted respiratory health issues.

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Filed under: Health • New York • September 11
soundoff (179 Responses)
  1. scrumbug

    So will United Way get half of that money too?

    November 19, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mike Distance

    As far as I'm concerned, these people don't deserve any money. Sure they did a heroic thing by doing their job in the face of danger, but they did not have the presence of mind, as say a Larry Silverstein. Mr. Silverstein had the genius and presence of mind to insure the Twin Towers against terrorists attacks just a short time before the attacks occured. Now if these first responders had the intelligence, thoughtfulness or intelligence of a Mr. Silverstein they would have forseen this tragedy and taken proper precautions. An important lesson, always be prepared.

    November 19, 2010 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. spilex

    Every time I read news in the paper, or on the net, or watch a news broadcast, someone is getting paid money they do not deserve, at the taxpayers expense. When it is my choice to dole out my money for charitable reasons that is one thing. When a lawyer and a judge decide where my tax dollars are going to be spent, now that is a problem. Wish I could change it, but I can't. Great example, about 5 years ago Katrina hit New Orleans. Basically drowning a city that I remind you is below sea level. WE ARE RE-BUILDING THAT CITY! I love America, but we are a dumb nation sometimes!

    November 19, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      I think it's just city council that votes on handing out the free money. Then they vote to issue more bonds to cover the debt. See? No taxes raised, money just comes out of nowhere.

      November 19, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Brian B

    800 Billion to the banks... 724 million to the heroes of 9/11... Something is wrong here. They like to use their faces and their plight in campaigns and rhetoric, but when push comes to shove, they don't care to help. Just ask "Sully" Sullenberger.

    November 19, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thinks2010

      Right!

      November 19, 2010 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Chuck

    I'm just glad President Obama didnt have to make the final approval of this payout, cause them Republicans would of been all down his throat. I bet Sarah Palin want discuss this at that darn Tea Party!!

    November 19, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Julie Robert

    I am truly disappointed in my fellow Americans who are posting negative comments. It is outrageous that anyone would find fault in the first responders being fairly compensated for everything they did during and after 9/11. If you are concerned about taxpayer money being misused, please look at other Americans, who are actually taking advantage of the welfare system, subsidize housing etc. etc. These men and women put their life in danger to help others. We should be thanking them for all they did during such a horrific time. Thank you first responders and God Bless America.

    November 19, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. To John G

    Yes John G. that is in their job description. If you are in the military and you had to storm the beaches of Normandy (was that your job?).. YES! Why not pay them too?

    November 19, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thinks2010

      We did with the G.I. Bill and veterans health care.

      November 19, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jake

    ~ Anyone who worked for pay or volunteered performing rescue, recovery or cleanup. ~

    It's called Workman's Compensation Benefits. Deal with it, people.

    Due to the fact that there were unknown hazards that were not disclosed with regards to working on the Twin Towers sight and due to the fact that several people have died prematurely as a result of illnesses caused by toxins at the site, a class action suit was launched and settled.

    November 19, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Annette

    Unbelievable but not surprised that there are people who respond with "...it's part of their job description". You've got to be kidding, right?! The reason why people "sign up" for these types of jobs is not for the money but because they have the courage that most people do not. These people have historically been underpaid and overworked and I can't help but think it's about time they got some compensation, not only for doing their jobs, but risking their lives for other people so they can live theirs...and that includes those who leave such disrespectful comments. On the wake of 9/11, these people lost their jobs because of health problems or had to take a leave due to physical and mental strains...they deserve compensation. If they are expected to save lives, then the government should be expected to provide them with the tools they need to do the job. If those tools are not provided, the government should pay. Period, end of story.

    November 19, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  10. phil

    9/11 first responders jobs are nowhere near the top of the most dangerous jobs list. They should get workers compensation just like the rest of US. And the firemen that were ordered to leave ground-zero by Mayor Rudy and return to their stations but refused...they should get reduced compensation. Remember? Rudy even had the police forcibly remove them. A fistfight actually broke out. And stop calling 9/11 a "terrorist attack" until you at least charge Usama BinLaden for 9/11. He hasn't even been indicted for 9/11. The FBI doesn't even want him for anything 9/11 related. "Alledged" terrorist attacks just like any other crime is called before a guilty verdict is reached by a Judge.

    November 19, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. phil

    And the firemen who responded to the Pentagon crash? Many of them came down with DU illness. They were exposed to depleted uranium, and should therefore recieve extra compensation.

    November 19, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Annette

    Phil, I'd like to comment on your post and for everyone else who don't seem to get it..."9/11 first responders jobs are nowhere near the top of the most dangerous jobs list."....That is not the point here. But even if it was, I would have to disagree with you. The jobs of EMS, FD and Police are very dangerous as far as the risks go...at any point, their life is at risk. I can say this because I am a Paramedic. My life is at risk every time I drive lights and sirens to a call. I've accepted that this is part of my job, but that does not mean this acceptance should be minimized or ignored. You fail to recognize that people risked their own lives, families, etc for the sake of duty, for the sake of strangers and for the sake of their country. They did the things they did because it is in their blood and in their training to react. There was no time for a 2 hour 'let's think about this' type of meeting. Many died in service of you, your friends, your country, etc...the least that the country can do is compensate them for all they lost because of their brave actions and for coming out of it alive.

    November 19, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  13. phil@Annette

    I agree w/ you. Anyone injured on the kob should be fully compensated. Oilfield workers are often injured working hard so you can drive your car and heat your home. And they recieve workers compensation under our current system. firefighters and police nationwide are injured on the job, and are fully compensated. No special settlements for them, and no complaints about it. And what of the victims of 9/11 lawsuits? How are they coming along....or are their lives and 9/11 sacrifices not even worthy of mention.

    November 19, 2010 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Annette

    Phil, thanks for your response: I understand what you are saying. However, my point is that 9/11 was an isolated incident that was out-of-the-ordinary. That day and the days following, required emergency personnel to make sacrifices beyond the call of duty. It involved an unusual amount of hours away from home, an unusual amount of time on the grounds working, an increased amount of stress (both physical and mental) that could not be dealt with right away as they would normally get dealt with on any other day. The time spent on 9/11 and it's aftermath weren't your ordinary busting criminals or putting out a house fire or saving a child's life from drowning.....it was extreme. Try to put yourself in a uniform at ground zero..."try" being the operative word here because unless you do that sort of job for a living, you will never comprehend the responsibility one puts on our own shoulders. These people are not only dealing with things...they are dealing with lives. 2 things...1 -emergency responders are definitely underpaid worldwide for the work they do...they/we make peanuts compared to other jobs. 2 – As far as this topic is concerned, the 9/11 personnel went above and beyond the call of duty because no one else was trained to take on the responsibility and the many who have suffered because of it, should get compensated above and beyond. As for the victims, that is a different type of lawsuit and topic altogether. Let's stick to what this article is about for now.

    November 19, 2010 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. phil @ Annette

    You make good points Annette. And I hope each and every emergency worker is fully compensated. And true, the 9/11 victims family lawsuits are indeed a "different type" altogether. But if we wait for a "CNN Just-In" about them before we talk about it, we could be in for a very long wait. We all know the details of the first respoders plight, but do we same people know even the surface of the victims family lawsuits? Who are they suing? What lawfirm is defending those named in the lawsuits? etc etc etc One thing these lawsuits did help bring about is the release of the Pentagon's security video. It took several years, but under the 'freedom of information act' it finally was released to the general public. Yet very few have even bothered to look at it. Have you seen it Annette? I invite you to do so. But don't wait for a "Just-In" before you talk about it, or you'll be waiting for a very long time. Anyway, I enjoyed your posts and will look for your next ones. gn

    November 20, 2010 at 4:17 am | Report abuse |
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