After September 11, 2001, Edgar Galvis was one of the many people hired to help clean up the rubble, specifically from the Merrill Lynch office. After working near Ground Zero cleaning up, he now has throat cancer and sinus and sleeping problems.
To make matters worse, Galvis was seemingly swindled by his own attorneys. After taking a $10,000 settlement from Merrill Lynch at the advise of his lawyers, Galvis received a letter saying, “It was our pleasure to represent you in this matter,” and an actual check for $0.
According to the New York Times:
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.
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.”