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Lawyers reach new low cut ground zero worker a cheque for $0
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aidanjt
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 8:54 am    Post subject: Lawyers reach new low cut ground zero worker a cheque for $0 Reply with quote

TFA wrote:
Cancer-stricken Ground Zero worker Edgar Galvis has finally received a compensation check -- for zero dollars.

The 51-year-old Queens man, who suffered sinus problems and then throat cancer after months of removing toxic debris from the World Financial Center, was relieved to get a check in the mail for his court settlement with Merrill Lynch, whose offices he had cleaned.

But he was stunned when he saw the amount: $0.00.

His award had been $10,005, but his lawyers at the firm Worby, Groner, Edelman & Napoli Bern lopped off $2,579 for unitemized legal expenses.
'I THOUGHT IT WAS A JOKE': Edgar Galvis, a Ground Zero worker who has throat cancer, holds the settlement check he got from a law firm.
Angel Chevrestt
'I THOUGHT IT WAS A JOKE': Edgar Galvis, a Ground Zero worker who has throat cancer, holds the settlement check he got from a law firm.
TOILING: Galvis spent months clearing offices of debris at Ground Zero.
TOILING: Galvis spent months clearing offices of debris at Ground Zero.

Then they took a 33.3 percent fee of $2,124.

They also subtracted $352, a fee to the lawyer who referred him.

The remaining $4,950 was withheld for unspecified "liens," the letter says. Galvis thinks this was repayment of workers' compensation for aid.

"I have hit rock bottom," said Galvis, who is jobless and $30,000 in debt. "I was expecting a check, and you can imagine how I felt when I opened it. I couldn't believe it. I thought it was a joke."

The father of two, who lives in Glendale with his fiancée and her two kids, said he had to sell his car and relies on relatives for rent. "I get collection agencies whenever I open the mail. What little credit I had I don't have anymore," he said.

Galvis said he arrived in New York from Bogota, Colombia, in February 2001. Hired by contractors clearing dust and rubble from Merrill Lynch offices next to Ground Zero, Galvis said he toiled 16 hours a day for six months in a jumpsuit and paper mask that would tear when he sweated. At $8 an hour, he made close to $800 a week.

In May 2005, a friend gave him a business card passed out by the law firm. A representative came to his home.

"The man told me that more than likely I will get sick and I would get 60 percent of whatever he won," Galvis said. "He even mentioned the words 'millions of dollars.' "

In April 2010, he got a $10,000 offer. A letter from the law firm said he could expect about $5,000 after expenses and fees. It warned that if his case went to trial and he lost, he could owe the firm up to $100,000 in costs. He took the settlement.

His claim cited chronic rhinosinusitis and sleep disorders. He was diagnosed with throat cancer last August and began chemotherapy and radiation. But it was "too late" to adjust his claim.

"It was our pleasure to represent you in this matter," the law firm says in a note that arrived with the zero-dollar check.

It was no pleasure for Galvis.

"I think they are taking advantage of the ignorance of people such as myself," he said.

The total Merrill settlement came to $18 million for about 400 clients, documents show.

Galvis is one of nearly 10,000 Ground Zero workers represented by Napoli Bern, which led talks for a separate settlement with the city for $712 million.

Anger is also stirring among those clients, who have started getting checks for 40 percent of their total awards. Several told The Post the payouts were less than those estimated by Napoli Bern. Some said they felt duped.

A partner in the firm, Paul Napoli, did not respond to a request for comment.

Getting to $0:

$10.005

$2,579 for unitemized legal expenses

- $2,124 for a 33.3% legal fee

-$352 fee to a lawyer who referred him

- $4,950 for unspecified “liens”

=$0

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notageek
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Must be a typo or bug in the software.

For typo blame the secretary.
For bug, er...
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

notageek wrote:
Must be a typo or bug in the software.

For typo blame the secretary.
For bug, er...

Yes, because it wouldn't be like a lawyer to screw people over. :P
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of-course.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bad title. Should be "Lawyer behaves typically".
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What sort of crappy programmer doesn't include an "if amount > 0 then print" sanity check?

Waste of a cheque.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PaulBredbury wrote:
What sort of crappy programmer doesn't include an "if amount > 0 then print" sanity check?

Waste of a cheque.


He'll probably get a bill for the cost of the cheque
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AidanJT wrote:
notageek wrote:
Must be a typo or bug in the software.

For typo blame the secretary.
For bug, er...

Yes, because it wouldn't be like a lawyer to screw people over. :P


Seems like he came over specifically to clear up the rubble. I imagine he isn't alone in this.

very sad. Likely didn't know what the health consequences were to working there and no doubt the contractors didn't help them find out.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If there's dust, fumes and smoke, wear a respirator. Otherwise, don't complain because you were too stupid to look out for your own health.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

speeddemon wrote:
If there's dust, fumes and smoke, wear a respirator. Otherwise, don't complain because you were too stupid to look out for your own health.
Respirators cost $10,005.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

speeddemon wrote:
If there's dust, fumes and smoke, wear a respirator. Otherwise, don't complain because you were too stupid to look out for your own health.

All they were given was those cheap forensic clean suits and papier-mâché filters which fall apart when they absorb sweat. Or do you think they should have bought their very own hazmat suit out of their probably less than minimal wage? Do you also think it's feasible for them to hire a lab to analyse the mess they were asked to clean up to identify what kind of hazards they'd have to face?

Do you not think it should have been the responsibility of the city (the primary employer) to assess what hazards exist, and provide sufficient gear to employees asked to clean up hazardous materials, and sufficient compensation for the health damages the job inflicted?

No, they just contracted the job out because they'd get the job done cheaper, by taking shortcuts on top of shortcuts, and further screwing over the people who cleaned up that mess when they developed health complications.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The remaining $4,950 was withheld for unspecified "liens," the letter says. Galvis thinks this was repayment of workers' compensation for aid.


He already got paid for being unable to work for a period of time, and he knows it. He didn't get diagnosed with throat cancer until 4 months after the settlement, so maybe he can start a new lawsuit and get his 'millions of dollars'? It's a sad story, but I don't feel that bad for him yet. Hopefully he can find a different lawyer and file a new lawsuit since the circumstances have changed.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

People are cheap in the USA. Like in China.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PaulBredbury wrote:
What sort of crappy programmer doesn't include an "if amount > 0 then print" sanity check?

Waste of a cheque.

And postage!
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PaulBredbury wrote:
What sort of crappy programmer doesn't include an "if amount > 0 then print" sanity check?

Waste of a cheque.


Good rhetoric?

[edit] I was not clear about one thing. Your metaphor, I switched back on topic, and made a...joke. Not obvious by many.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AidanJT wrote:
speeddemon wrote:
If there's dust, fumes and smoke, wear a respirator. Otherwise, don't complain because you were too stupid to look out for your own health.

All they were given was those cheap forensic clean suits and papier-mâché filters which fall apart when they absorb sweat. Or do you think they should have bought their very own hazmat suit out of their probably less than minimal wage? Do you also think it's feasible for them to hire a lab to analyse the mess they were asked to clean up to identify what kind of hazards they'd have to face?

Do you not think it should have been the responsibility of the city (the primary employer) to assess what hazards exist, and provide sufficient gear to employees asked to clean up hazardous materials, and sufficient compensation for the health damages the job inflicted?

No, they just contracted the job out because they'd get the job done cheaper, by taking shortcuts on top of shortcuts, and further screwing over the people who cleaned up that mess when they developed health complications.

re-read what I wrote. RESPIRATOR (not hazmat suit or any other mess you went on about). You can get a disposable P100 respirator for $10. You can get one with replaceable filters for $25. All available at any home improvement warehouse. This was a destroyed building, not a bio-hazard or nuclear lab.

If you're too stupid to care for your own health, you deserve what you get.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

actually, those liens are probably from the rest of that 30k he has in debt. in many states you can score a lien against a judgment.

i'm not a fan of those unitemized legal offenses, and "referral" fees are illegal for lawyers in most states.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

speeddemon wrote:
re-read what I wrote. RESPIRATOR (not hazmat suit or any other mess you went on about). You can get a disposable P100 respirator for $10. You can get one with replaceable filters for $25. All available at any home improvement warehouse. This was a destroyed building, not a bio-hazard or nuclear lab.

If you're too stupid to care for your own health, you deserve what you get.

You're contradicting yourself. On one hand you're saying the destroyed skyscrapers pose no biological or nuclear hazard, but then you're saying he should have bought his own respirator. If a respirator was required, then why didn't the city supply them? If they're so cheap, as you say, it surely shouldn't have been a large expense to write off.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

speeddemon wrote:

If you're too stupid to care for your own health, you deserve what you get.


too stupid is one way to look at it. Another is that it is likely he simply didn't know. Consider this. He is likely not in the construction biz and, even if he was, construction practices vary greatly from country to country. This is true even for similar countries. you never know - you could end up in a place where all the buildings are built with asbestos and they don't tell you about it and you are cleaning up all the rubble.

it's clear that the person should have been smarter about this. he could have visited a doctor in his home country and in the US at the beginning of the post to see if there were any health concerns. but it is clear that the contractor preyed on people in poorer countries to get cheap labour in didn't disclose any of the possible health concerns. My guess is that they got very few canadians to come on do the digging. so, -1 point for the worker for not being smarter and -10 for the company for being assholes.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

juniper wrote:
... but it is clear that the contractor preyed on people in poorer countries to get cheap labour in didn't disclose any of the possible health concerns.

I have that suspicion myself, but I'd say declaring "it is clear" to be an exaggeration (unless you saw some evidence of that which I did not).

juniper wrote:
My guess is that they got very few canadians to come on do the digging. so, -1 point for the worker for not being smarter and -10 for the company for being assholes.

Yeah, Canadians know all about the hazards of asbestos. That's why they're selling it on an industrial scale as building materials to 3rd world countries where people don't know any better.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
juniper wrote:
... but it is clear that the contractor preyed on people in poorer countries to get cheap labour in didn't disclose any of the possible health concerns.

I have that suspicion myself, but I'd say declaring "it is clear" to be an exaggeration (unless you saw some evidence of that which I did not).


clearly, it is not as clear as I claimed. but you agree anyhow.

Quote:

juniper wrote:
My guess is that they got very few canadians to come on do the digging. so, -1 point for the worker for not being smarter and -10 for the company for being assholes.

Yeah, Canadians know all about the hazards of asbestos. That's why they're selling it on an industrial scale as building materials to 3rd world countries where people don't know any better.


I was making the point that they were preying on the poor, and there aren't many in canada.

about canada and the asbestos, touche :wink:
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