Parker Waichman Won't Abandon Zadroga Act ClientsMar 13, 2012 | Parker Waichman LLP
Parker Waichman LLP has promised not to abandon any first responder who assisted in rescue and recovery operations in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Unlike some other law firms, Parker Waichman has vowed to continue assisting sickened Ground Zero workers with Zadroga Act compensation claims, even in cases where the firm is legally prohibited from collecting a fee for those services.
“Many of our clients played an instrumental role in the passage of the Zadroga Act, and they continue to work with us to include Cancer as a covered injury. Just as we have not given up on adding Cancer, we will never give up on any of our clients,” states Matthew McCauley, who is the leading attorney in the WTC/Zadroga group at Parker Waichman LLP and a former NYPD Officer and WTC First Responder. “We are also representing an Air Traffic Controller pro bono who has been excluded from PTSD benefits because he was not physically at a site, despite being in contact with one of the United Airline flights until the end. While it’s true for all of our clients, this group truly exemplifies our belief that it is not just business – it’s personal. We want these first responders to get what they need and justly deserve.”
The Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which became law in December 2010, reopened the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund for five years to provide payment for job and economic losses for first responders, those trapped in the buildings, and local residents, who suffered illness or injuries related to the toxic dust. Sickened Ground Zero first responders who already received compensation under the World Trade Center Toxic Dust Settlement are also eligible for compensation under the Zadroga Act. However, their lawyers aren't able to collect a 10% fee on Zadroga Act recoveries if they have already billed a client a 25% fee for representation in the toxic dust settlement.
According to a report from The New York Post, one large law firm that advertised heavily for business after the Zadroga Act was passed in 2010 has sent a letter to its World Trade Center Toxic Dust Settlement clients, informing those clients it will no longer represent them. “By preventing us to be paid for our overhead and services, it essentially precludes us from representing the interests of our litigation clients” in Zadroga Act claims, the letter states. The law firm in question is said to have collected as much as $200 million in fees from representing Ground Zero responders in the toxic dust settlement.
Parker Waichman has made it clear that it will not be following in that firm's lead. According to Parker Waichman LLP's statement, the firm has a dedicated staff of retired firefighters and policemen waiting to help Zadroga Act claimants. Parker Waichman LLP has vowed to continue to assist any injured or sickened Ground Zero first responder with Zadroga Act claims, regardless of their participation in the World Trade Center Toxic Dust Settlement.