The World Trade Center Disaster Site Litigation Suit that represents plaintiffs who were on the response team after 9/11 hit a snag last week. The law firm heading up the case and representing approximately 10,000 plaintiffs in the 9/11 respiratory illness suit last week was ordered by a judge to cooperate with a special council in order to help alleviate what is being called a conflict of interest. The judge said that 59 plaintiffs might have been “seriously prejudiced.”
The order is against law firm Worby Groner Edelman & Napoli Bern and was issued because the firm removed 59 plaintiffs from the suit. These individuals were taken off the plaintiff list for the 2010 settlement which calls for payouts to total over $700 million to 9/11 volunteers and workers that were called upon and responded to help clean up the 2001 terrorist attack site.
The issue at hand is whether or not these 59 plaintiffs should have been removed from the list. Lead attorney for the case Paul Napoli said that the order came without a factual understanding of the reasons that they were removed. He went on to say that the plaintiffs in question voluntarily removed themselves from the case when they instead chose to accept settlement in monies received from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.
The judge on the other hand says that the firm had motive when it came to removing the names. By lowering the number of plaintiffs it made it easier for the firm to meet the 95% participation threshold in order for the suit to become active. The judge went on to say that the attorneys on the case should have done everything they could to help these particular plaintiffs due to new injuries that had manifested since such plaintiffs originally accepted compensation.
Additionally, it has come in question of whether or not the firm’s actions were also related to the firm’s debt. If the suit was to settle, the firm would be receiving a large sum. The firm denies such allegations and claims they have consulted with ethic professionals who also stand behind their decision to remove the 59 individuals in question from the case.
After the order, the firm submitted for an order of protection of files related to the case claiming attorney client privilege. The documents submitted stated that the order by the judge to bring in special council and produce files from the case infringes on ethical violations and the protection of clients confidence.
Attorney Mr. Napoli did comment that he has confidence that the case will be resolved and in the firm’s favor.
If you or someone you love was a 9/11 first responder or clean up worker who experienced health problems, mental anguish, or injuries as a result of the WTC attacks, you may be entitled to monetary compensation under the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. For more information or to discuss your situation, contact Markhoff & Mittman at 855-614-4351 to schedule a free consultation with a New York Zadroga attorney.