Federal judge advances Ground Zero suits

Dec. 11, 2008 at 2:33 PM

NEW YORK, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- Manhattan Federal Judge Alvin Hellerstein has ordered 60 of the estimated 10,500 Ground Zero illness lawsuits to be ready for trial by 2010.

Hellerstein said his motion this week was intended to increase the court's efficiency regarding the pending lawsuits, all based on Ground Zero workers' claims that they fell ill after helping with post-Sept. 11 cleanup, the New York Post said Thursday.

"I'm starting a dynamic to get us moving toward trial in the foreseeable future," the New York judge said Wednesday.

Hellerstein ordered that 30 of the 60 suits tabbed for a 2010 court date come from complaints by workers whose illnesses are deemed the most serious.

The remaining 30 cases will be chosen from the remaining thousands of lawsuits, the judge ordered.

Attorney James Tyrell told the Post the broader half of the 2010 cases will help serve as precedents for the remaining cases in regard to possible settlements.

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