Growing discontent among 9/11 heroes who sued the city over exposure to toxic air at Ground Zero could scuttle a landmark settlement offer, says the New York Daily News. A number of first responders, recovery workers and their relatives say they will opt out of the $625 million deal because their payouts are too low – and their health care is left in doubt. “If you sign this thing, you’re not taken care of at all,” said Richard Hand, 47, a retired NYPD Emergency Service Unit officer who logged more than 700 hours at the Pile and now suffers from upper-digestive problems.
Lawyers representing Hand sent a package last week saying his payout offer is $7,500. He would only collect $4,694 after a 25% lawyer’s fee and other legal expenses. “For $4,700, they are going to buy you off. That’s just wrong,” Hand said. He is among the more than 10,000 police officers, firefighters, hardhats and other Ground Zero workers who sued the city because of 9/11-related illnesses or fear that their exposure could lead to future medical problems. The plaintiffs’ law firms started sending out estimated payouts in the past two weeks.In order for the settlement to work, at least 95% must accept the offers by Sept. 8.