FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 10, 2010
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES WORLD TRADE CENTER LAWSUIT SETTLEMENT PACKAGE AND ENCOURAGES 9/11 RESPONDERS TO ACCEPT SETTLEMENT INSTEAD OF YEARS OF UNCERTAIN LITIGATION IN WEEKLY RADIO ADDRESS
The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg’s weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, October 10, 2010
“Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
“Last week, I stood with some of the brave men and women who participated in the rescue and recovery mission during and after 9/11. Together, we urged workers to accept the City’s proposed settlement of litigation for 9/11-related health problems. There is a lot of confusion about both the City’s proposed settlement and the additional benefits that might become available if Congress passes the Zadroga bill. We have a responsibility to explain all of the options to all those who have suffered, and I’d like to take the opportunity to do that again today.
“Right now there are two potential avenues of compensation for rescue and recovery workers. The first is the proposed settlement of some 10,000 individual lawsuits brought against the City and contractors. In order to receive compensation from this settlement, two things have to happen. First: you must opt in before the deadline passes on November 8, 2010. And second: 95 percent of the plaintiffs involved in the litigation must also approve the settlement for it to become effective. So far, about 75 percent of plaintiffs have signed on.
“Another potential source of compensation is the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, which was established by the Federal government in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks. The fund will be reopened if the Senate passes the same version of the Zadroga bill that was passed by the House two weeks ago.
“Let me be clear: by opting into the City’s proposed settlement you are not giving up your rights to apply for future benefits under the Zadroga bill, if and when it becomes law. And if the bill does pass and the compensation offered to you is more than what you got from your settlement, you will get the difference. Let’s say, for example, that you are awarded $1 million in compensation under the City’s settlement. If the Zadroga bill passes and you are offered another $1.5 million from the re-opened Victim Compensation Fund, you would be entitled to the entire $1 million from your City settlement and also the half million in Zadroga benefits that is over and above what the City’s settlement awarded you.
“The Federal judge overseeing the litigation has approved the settlement, calling it ‘fair and reasonable.’ Individual awards would range from several thousand dollars to nearly $2 million, depending on the extent of injuries sustained. And almost all plaintiffs would receive an insurance policy that would pay up to $100,000 if they contract certain cancers in the future. Of course, there are a number of other benefits that cannot be measured in dollars. Some of the plaintiffs who joined me last week spoke powerfully about what the settlement would mean for their families – financial stability, closure, a more certain and hopeful future for their children. We in City government also want to see an end to the litigation. We have no desire to be fighting in court with those who acted unselfishly and heroically to help our city in its hour of need. We hope that at least 95 percent of the plaintiffs accept the settlement before the November 8th deadline, so that we can move forward, together, as a city.
“Before I sign off today I’d like to talk about another health issue and urge all New Yorkers to get a flu shot. I got one myself last Wednesday. It only took a few minutes and it didn’t hurt a bit. This year’s vaccine protects against influenza and also the H1N1 virus. For more information about where to get vaccinated, see your doctor, call 311, or visit the City’s website, www.nyc.gov.
“This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening.”
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958
Listen to the radio address