NEW YORK, Dec. 29, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Attorneys for more than ten thousand Ground Zero Responders say that once again, the New York Post and its reporter Susan Edelman have published unreliable information that is designed to cause injured 9/11 Ground Zero Responders to panic for no reason other than to sell newspapers. In an article published today, the Post incorrectly reported that attorneys for the settling plaintiffs in the In re: World Trade Center Disaster Site Litigations failed to timely obtain their clients' signed settlement papers, thereby foreclosing those men and women from filing claims under the newly-passed James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. The Zadroga Bill was passed by the House and the Senate in the last week before Christmas and will soon be presented to President Obama who has promised that he will sign it, making it law.
The Post has incorrectly claimed that anyone who signs their settlement paperwork after the President signs the bill, anticipated to take place next week, will be ineligible for Zadroga benefits and that the papers are not completed on time due to an alleged "screw up" by the attorneys. "That is utter nonsense," said Plaintiffs' Liaison Counsel Paul J. Napoli, "and it is just the sort of yellow journalism we have come to expect from the New York Post and Ms. Edelman, who don't stop to learn or consider the facts -- something they consider insignificant -- before they rush to press." Mr. Napoli continued, "you have to wonder why the New York Post is so determined to continually hurt, harass and cause panic for these brave heroes who put their lives and their health in danger when their city and their country needed them. Maybe they think no one would waste their money to read the Post if they actually reported the truth and the news."
As Napoli explained, the Zadroga bill's language states that anyone with a pending litigation must have "tendered" release of all their claims in settlement by the time the bill is enacted. Under the law, one can "tender" a release of claims in many ways, and what the Post and its reporter did not report is that the actual release document signed by the plaintiffs is not the only way to meet this requirement. In fact, Zadroga does not state that plaintiffs have to have given their individual signed release documents to the defendants prior to President Obama signing the bill.
The release of litigation claims can be tendered by a letter, a stipulation or a settlement agreement, or by the plaintiff's attorney, among other things. In this case, Court-appointed Legal Ethicist Roy Simon has confirmed that Worby Groner Edelman & Napoli Bern, LLP have the authority to tender their clients' releases on behalf of those clients who have expressed an intent to settle and they have already done so. In the In re: World Trade Center Disaster Site Litigation, moreover, the plaintiffs' attorneys have signed settlement agreements with the settling defendants and those Settlement Agreements also constitute a "tender" of the plaintiffs' releases to the defendants. Thus, the tender of releases has already occurred because plaintiffs' attorneys entered a Settlement Agreement with the defendants and the Court has approved those tenders.
"We can't expect a reporter who is not an attorney to fully understand these concepts, although we would hope that a responsible attorney and publisher would at least try to get it right" said Napoli's Partner Marc Bern, "that is why clients should not turn to the New York Post or any other newspaper for legal advice. They should call their attorneys if they have questions."
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SOURCE Worby Groner Edelman & Napoli Bern, LLP