New York City has reached a settlement in the health care claims of more than 10,000 ground zero rescue and recovery workers. The settlement still needs to be approved by a judge and the workers. Ninety-five percent of plaintiffs must sign off on the deal.
The $657 million package is intended to head-off lawsuits against the city by firefighters, police and construction workers who were sickened by dust from the World Trade Center after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the proposal "fair and reasonable," a sentiment echoed by one of the negotiators of the deal that was announced Thursday night after years of fighting in court.
The deal would make the city and other companies represented by the insurer liable for at least $575 million, with more money coming in to the sick if certain conditions are met. Most if not all the money would come from a $1 billion grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
"We've had to fight for what we deserve," said carpenter James Nolan, 45, who developed lung and leg problems from recovering bodies and building ramp firehoses at the site. "I'm glad it's coming to an end."