Is a class action better than an individual lawsuit?
Recently, it was announced that 10,500 cops, firefighters, hardhats and other 9/11 responders will receive a $637.5 million settlement with the City of New York. The attorneys representing the injury victims will receive 25% of the clients' recovery, or $210.4 million, and the defense lawyers will get $200 million. Of the $1 billion federal fund to pay claims from the World Trade Tower cleanup, more than 40% is going to the lawyers for the injury victims and lawyers representing the City.
Where does this leave the injury victims? Well, 10,500 injury victims will split the remaining $637.5 million settlement. That's a lot of money, right? Not according to a recent article in the New York Post. The plaintiffs' lawyers, Worby Groner Edelman & Napoli Bern took $5,050 from office cleaner Edgar Galvis's $10,005 settlemnt, including their 33.33 legal fee. The remainder of the money went to pay off a workers' compensation lien. Galvis received a check for $0.00.
The injury victims reported that the plaintiffs' lawyers at Worby Groner Edelman & Napoli Bern were impersonal, botched paperwork, the lawyers were inaccessible and that the lawyers bullied them. One injury victim stated, "I got screwed--big time."
While the lawyers received legal fees exceeding $400 million, many of the injury victims receive nothing from the settlement. This didn't work as planned of most of the injury victims.
The lesson to be learned: individuals rarely get the justice that they deserve in class action lawsuits.
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