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Sept. 11 Building Owners Near Settlement, Court Told

Aug. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Prospects are “very good” for a settlement between workers injured in cleaning, repairing and demolishing buildings affected by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the structures’ owners, a court-appointed official said.

“I see a very good prognosis,” James Henderson Jr., a Cornell Law School professor appointed as one of two special masters to oversee settlement talks, said in a hearing today in Manhattan. “It’ll take some time, but it’s going to happen.”

Henderson, who called the litigation “monumentally complex,” said he is confident an agreement can be reached among about 1,300 building workers, owners of the 160 buildings and their insurers. Henderson said such a deal could come in a matter of months.

“We are having very fruitful meetings,” Henderson told U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein.

The plaintiffs in the case claim illnesses from exposure to toxic debris from the destruction of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. In June, Hellerstein approved a $712.5 million settlement of injury claims by Ground Zero rescue and recovery workers.

The case is In Re Lower Manhattan Disaster Site Litigation, 21-MC-102, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Van Voris in U.S. District Court in Manhattan at rvanvoris@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David E. Rovella at drovella@bloomberg.net.

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