Monday, February 08, 2010

First we kill all the lawyers... 

Lawyers claim half of 9/11 health and injury funds

Lawyers in the legal battle over Ground Zero worker compensation could bag up to half of the billions available to pay 9/11 recovery workers for toxic injuries.

Defense firms hired by the city to fight some 10,000 claims have already raked in close to $200 million, and about $75 million has been spent on administrative expenses.

[In addition to that] Lawyers for the workers -- who have yet to be paid -- stand to reap 30 percent to 40 percent of all settlements or judgments, based on their retainer agreements with World Trade Center responders...

At stake is a $1 billion taxpayer fund and as much as $3 billion in liability-insurance coverage, which includes the Port Authority's $600 million and policies held by WTC contractors.

The WTC Captive Insurance Co., a nonprofit governed by Mayor Bloomberg, has managed a $1 billion fund ... awarded by Congress to pay claims stemming from the Ground Zero cleanup.

The fund spent $275 million between 2004 and Dec. 31, 2009, on defense lawyers and administrative costs, records obtained by The Post show.

At the same time, the fund paid only a total of $320,000 to five workers with minor injuries....

"How do you justify earning $275 million without a settlement or trial?" asked ex-NYPD Detective John Walcott, who battled leukemia after working for months at Ground Zero and the Fresh Kills landfill, where debris was shipped and sifted... [NY Post]