Judge rejects settlement of 9/11 claims

March 20, 2010 at 7:09 PM

NEW YORK, March 20 (UPI) -- A federal judge has refused to accept a $575 million settlement over cleanup at the World Trade Center site in New York.

U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein said Friday the settlement is not adequate for New York City workers, mostly police officers and firefighters, who have suffered debilitating illness, The New York Times reported. At a hearing, he said he was taking "judicial control" that would include reviewing how much lawyers for the plaintiffs will get in fees.

Most of the plaintiffs praised the judge. They included Richard Volpe, 42, who retired early as a New York police detective because of kidney failure.

"I'm very proud of the compassion and bravery the judge has shown," Volpe told the New York Daily News. "I don't know what the next step is. I don't know if the judge knows. But it is a good step."

Under the terms of the settlement, the city agreed to payments that would have totaled somewhere between $575 million and $675 million.

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