Edgar Galvis, a 51-year-old man from Queens, New York, was one of the many people who cleaned up the debris in office buildings following the 9/11 attacks that brought down the World Trade Center.
Originally from Bogota, Columbia, he came to the the United States in February 2001 and after the attack was hired by contractors to clean the dust and rubble from the Merrill Lynch office. For $800 a week he would have to work 16 hour days with only a jumpsuit and paper mask for protection.
In the years that followed he became stricken with throat cancer and as a result is jobless, in debt to the tune of $30,000 and lives with his fiancee and her two children. In 2005 he was handed a law firm’s business card and told that they could help him get compensated for his health problems.
The firm’s representative told him in a followup meeting that he stood to get 60 percent of whatever the lawyers managed to negotiate as a settlement.
Then in April 2010 he was told that he had gotten a $10,000 offer which he would be smart to take because if they went to court and they lost Galvis could end up owing over $100,000 in costs. Needless to say Galvis took the settlement and that is when insult was added to injury.
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.”
via New York Post
Unfortunately it wasn’t a joke. Not only had the law firm mislead him they now took the last of Galvis’ dignity without even blinking an eye.
Isn’t it wonderful how we have treated people who put their lives on the line following the attack as they gave their heart and soul to a city and a country in order to build it back up.