A federal judge approved the latest offer from the city to settle 9/11 first responders' health claims. Judge Alvin Hellerstein said the $712 million settlement "is fair... This has been a long and difficult process and I'm very happy it's resolved," but added that it wasn't "perfect... I wish there was enough money so that anybody that had any kind of injury got compensated just because he was a hero on 9/11."
However, for the deal to go through, 95% of the approximate 10,000 plaintiffs must agree to it. According to the NY Law Journal, some aren't happy: "Retired NYPD Detective Candace Baker, who claims the 400 hours of overtime she put at Ground Zero caused her breast cancer, and retired firefighter Kenneth Specht, who claims his cancer was caused by exposure to toxic dust, both criticized the settlement for not providing enough money for solid tumor cancers." Hellerstein said, "This is a settlement system and not a compensation system, so I have to pay attention, and the lawyers have to pay attention, to what is provable." Still, Specht, who expects $10,000, said, "To be told now that what I did nine years ago didn't contribute to my cancer is a tough situation to swallow."
The NY Times explains, "A claims administrator will review medical records and work history for each case and decide the amounts to be paid to each plaintiff or estate according to four tiers of disease or injury categories and severity. Lawyers for the WTC Captive Insurance Company, the city’s insurer that will pay the settlement out of a federally financed fund, told the court that half the plaintiffs fell into the fourth tier, reserved for the worst injuries and illnesses, and would get 94 percent of the payout."