Judge Alvin Hellerstein does right by 9/11 families and rescue workers

9-11 Family Guy's picture

 And all of you haters think he's a bad guy--taking these millions away from the family members who refused the generous victim's compensation hush money was a noble act, even if not immediately clear why...

Judge Alvin Hellerstein does right by 9/11 families and rescue workers

Sunday, July 27th 2008, 7:30 PM

Isn't it nice when a judge strikes a blow for justice? Congratulations go to Judge Alvin Hellerstein of Manhattan Federal Court, who is shielding 9/11 victims' families from lawyers with dollar signs in their eyes.

Bonus: Hellerstein's act could likewise shield thousands of sick rescue and recovery workers now seeking fair compensation for their suffering.

The judge, who is overseeing all the 9/11-related litigation, rejected a settlement for the families of four Pentagon victims who chose to sue the airlines rather than join the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.

While he had previously approved payments to the plaintiffs of $5.5 million, $7 million and two for $8 million, he stopped the clock when told the Maryland law firm of Azrael, Gann & Franz was going to collect 25%, or $7.125 million.

While a 25% fee for legal work is typical, the judge ruled that this is "not an ordinary case." The obvious obviously needed to be stated.

Hellerstein believes that 15% is enough and should be the limit in any 9/11 case. Repeat: Any 9/11 case.

Regarding the Maryland firm, the judge wrote: "Azrael's entire strategy seems to have been to coast on the work of others, and to wait for last position before entering into any meaningful settlement discussions with respect to his clients."

And he hammered on: "Azrael's strategy made little contribution to the progress of the cases before me, or to the settlements that largely have resolved this litigation; indeed, his strategy is now an affront to the hard work that others contributed in the belief that they would not be prejudiced in comparison to later settlers."

By law, to ensure consistent treatment of all parties, every 9/11 case will be handled by a single court, Manhattan Federal. And Hellerstein will preside.

His ruling should be a caution to the attorneys heading up the case on behalf of the WTC sick. The lawyers have been dreaming of reaping as much as 40% of the $1 billion pie Congress set aside for claims.

If a $7.125 million payday is thought out of bounds, a $400 million jackpot should have no chance.

None of this is anti-attorneys.

It is simply pro-plaintiffs - plaintiffs who were victimized in the worst terror attack on the United States.

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9-11 Family Guy's picture

India calls for tougher US stance on Patsystan

It's true because it was published by an Indian newspaper and is critical of Patsystani support for terrorism.



The Hindu

Closer ties between India and US on terrorism mooted

New York (PTI): Condemning the terrorist attacks in Bangalore and Ahmadabad, the US-India Political Action Committee here has stressed on need for 'closer cooperation' between India and the US on intelligence sharing against the global war on terror.

"Terrorism directed against India is the same as terrorism directed against the United States, Europe, and elsewhere. These attacks simply underscore the vital need for closer cooperation between the US and India to combat terrorism," Manish Antani, Foreign Policy Advisor to USINPAC said.

Condemning the attacks, USINPAC asked the American lawmakers and top officials to carefully consider the type of economic and military assistance that Washington provides to Pakistan.

"Five years after the 9/11 attacks, Pakistan is still criticised as being the epicentre of terrorism for allowing a porous border for terrorists to easily travel through, not apprehending terrorists, and for protecting the discredited nuclear scientist A Q Khan," it said.

Pakistan has come under intense scrutiny from international media and key US allies, including Afghanistan, for its role in the war on terrorism.

gretavo's picture

here you go, Family Guy, a Times of India story that's...

...right up your alley:

Printed from
The Times of India -Breaking news, views. reviews, cricket from across India

Are these attacks aimed at Indian polls?
29 Jul 2008, 0307 hrs IST, Indrani Bagchi,TNN

In June, US Republican candidate John McCain's adviser, Charlie Black, invited a lot of comment when he said that a terrorist attack before the November US presidential elections could help the Republican party.

With the string of terror attacks spattering blood all over India, particularly in BJP-ruled states, a similar question is raising its head: are Islamist jihadis making themselves a part of the election discourse in India, just as they have attempted in other parts of the world?

After 9/11, Al Qaeda terror attacks in countries have shown to influence elections, not always the way the terrorists would like it to be. On March 11, 2004, Madrid's urban rapid transit system was rocked by bomb attacks just three days before their elections.

It cost Jose Maria Aznar, one of Bush's staunch allies the elections, because the people voted in the Socialists. Spain became one of the first to abandon Bush and withdraw its troops from Iraq, when the newly elected Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero decided to overturn Aznar's decision, as a direct result of the Madrid bomb attacks.

But Spain was a unique case, when a terror-hit government bowed to terrorist threat and bolted.

In 2004, months before the US presidential elections, the fear of a terror attack on US soil to influence the elections was paramount. The New York Times also reported on the possibility that Al Qaeda would try to "influence the outcome of the election" by striking US oil refineries.

"The Federal Bureau of Investigation has warned the Texas oil industry of potential attacks by Al Qaeda on pipelines and refineries near the time of the November presidential election," NYT reported.

"In the wake of what happened in Madrid, we have to be concerned about the possibility of terrorists attempting to influence elections in the US by committing a terrorist act," FBI director Robert Mueller was quoted as saying.

It is generally believed that an Osama bin Laden video before the US presidential elections in 2004 put the national security question on top of the agenda, helping George Bush romp home.

Two years later, in April 2006, Italy, which was facing elections under Silvio Berlusconi was threatened by terror attacks and even a video by Al Qaeda No.2, Ayman al Zawahiri. The then Italian vice president of the European Commission, Franco Frattini, warned that "Al-Qaeda is ready to strike...and Italy is at risk because of its solid alliance with the US."

On March 5, Ayman al-Zawahiri threatened Italy openly. "We renew our warning to Rome and Berlusconi: If Italy won't withdraw its troops from Iraq, it will dig its own grave there," al-Zawahiri threatened. This despite the fact that Berlusconi had already said Italy would withdraw troops from Iraq. Berlusconi lost to Romano Prodi.

In 2007, in the run-up to the French presidential elections, French intelligence were abuzz with threats from Osama bin Laden and letters on websites close to Al Qaeda, alleged letters from Laden asking Salafi jihadi groups to attack France and a large number of Islamic extremists were arrested in the country — all indicated that a pre-election attack was likely.

The terror attacks in India over the last few months have been in BJP-ruled states: Rajasthan, Karnataka and Gujarat. Increased terrorist activity in J&K could also be linked to the coming elections there. With state elections coming up in some of these states in November as well as general elections a little later, if not around the same time, it is possible that terror attacks could be used to influence a future government's policy or even India's foreign policy.

PatrickSMcNally@aol.com's picture



USINPAC has closely modeled AJC and the American Israel Political Action Committee's political schema and has been working in concert with them in pushing various issues. While the two powerful Zionist organizations have been helping USINPAC navigate the US political scene, it has responded to this nurturing by wholly supporting their agendas, even when those agendas are contrary to Indian political ideology or detrimental to the Indian American Diaspora.

AJC and AIPAC had organized the first-ever joint Capitol Hill forum on July 16 2003 along with the US Indian Political Action Committee. The event featured nearly a dozen Congress members from across the US, diplomats from the Indian and Israeli embassies, and political activists from both communities speaking about the mutually beneficial nature of Israeli-Indian relations. The congress members included Republican Tom Lantos (D-CA) and Republican Gary Ackerman (D-NY). Congressman Tom Lantos summarized the binding issue of the evening and of the alliance, when he said, "We are drawn together by mindless, vicious, fanatic, Islamic terrorism." Congressman Ackerman then underlined the concerns bringing together the Zionist and Indian lobbies. He said that Israel was "surrounded by 120 million Muslims" while " India has 120 millions Muslims [within]". The conference continued in this tenor with numerous speakers using the words "Muslim" and "terrorist" interchangeably.

Mr. Sanjay Puri, Executive Director of USINPAC, had defined its mission as strengthening US-India bilateral relations in defence, trade, and business. But, as the joint forum with the Jewish lobbies indicated, USINPAC has made Israel the gateway to the US administration. The common ground between Israel and India is being built by defining Muslims as the shared problem.

gretavo's picture

defining muslims as the shared problem

that seems to be a recurring theme doesn't it! it's also worth noting that India's caste system is a version of the "chosen people" myth...

casseia's picture

If one hasn't, one must read

Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things and/or Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance. The caste system is utterly appalling.