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Judge Extends Deadline for 9/11 Health Settlement

By Julie Shapiro | November 10, 2010 11:18am
An unidentified firefighter stood near Ground Zero on 9/11, surrounded by dust and ash.
An unidentified firefighter stood near Ground Zero on 9/11, surrounded by dust and ash.
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Anthony Correla/Getty Images

By Julie Shapiro

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

LOWER MANHATTAN — The thousands of first responders who sued the city over their exposure to toxic dust on 9/11 have an extra week to opt in to a proposed settlement, the Associated Press reported.

The federal judge overseeing the settlement is giving the 9/11 recovery workers until Nov. 16 to file their paperwork, after a "huge influx" of workers filed documents as the original Nov. 8 deadline approached, the judge said, according to the AP.

The settlement will only take effect if 95 percent of the roughly 10,000 plaintiffs decide to participate.

U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein has issued a gag order barring lawyers from discussing whether that target has been met until there is an official tally. Based on the extended deadline, that tally will not come until Nov. 18, the AP reported.

But the plaintiffs’ lawyers said in e-mails Monday that they expected to meet the 95 percent target, even before the deadline had been extended, the Daily News reported.

Between this settlement and related deals, sick first responders could receive over $800 million, with individual payouts ranging from $2,000 to $2 million, according to reports.

The rescue and recovery workers, including firefighters and police officers, say the government should have provided them with protective equipment while they worked in the smoldering rubble at Ground Zero. Many first responders have developed respiratory and other ailments following their exposure.