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Judge approves settlement of health claims from 9/11 cleanup

Judge Alvin Hellerstein of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] on Thursday approved a $47.5 million settlement [order text] between the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey [official website], which owns the World Trade Center site, and over 9,000 people who claim they became ill from helping with 9/11 [JURIST news archive] rescue and cleanup efforts. The settlement calls for four tiers of claims based on severity of related illnesses with those in the lowest tier receiving $2,000 and those in the highest tier receiving funds "according to their injury classification with adjustment factors." The Port Authority Board of Commissioners and a certain weighted percentage of plaintiffs still must approve the settlement. Lawyers for the Port Authority do not expect the settlement to be finalized [NYT report] this month.

In June, Hellerstein approved a $712.5 million settlement agreement reached earlier that month [JURIST reports] between the city and rescue workers who brought health claims against the city. In 2007, Hellerstein ruled [JURIST report] that the class action lawsuit filed by cleanup workers against the city and the Port Authority could proceed. The lawsuit was filed [JURIST report] in 2004.

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