NEW YORK, Aug. 2 (UPI) — A cancer-stricken Ground Zero cleanup worker from Queens says he received a $0 settlement check.
Edgar Galvis, 51, who suffered sinus problems, had trouble sleeping and later developed throat cancer after months of clearing dust and rubble from Merrill Lynch offices at the World Financial Center, received a settlement check cut down to $0, the New York Post reported Monday.
In May 2005, Galvis was given the business card for the firm Worby, Groner, Edelman & Napoli Bern from a friend. A representative from the firm visited 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, the firm came to Galvis with a settlement offer of $10,000 and said should he take it and could expect about $5,000 after expenses and fees. Galvis decided to settle.
When Galvis got his check in the mail, he was excited, as he is currently jobless and $30,000 in debt. However, the law firm took out $2,579 for non-itemized legal expenses, a 33.3 percent fee of $2,124, $352, a fee to the lawyer who referred him, and $4,950 was withheld for unspecified “liens,” leaving Galvis with nothing from the settlement with Merrill Lynch.
“I have hit rock bottom,” said Galvis. “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.”
Other clients of the Napoli Bern have been voicing complaints after only receiving 40 percent of their total reward, saying they feel duped.
“I think they are taking advantage of the ignorance of people such as myself,” Galvis said.