The lead law firm for some 10,000 plaintiffs in the 9/11 respiratory illness litigation has been ordered to cooperate with a special counsel appointed by Southern District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein to alleviate a conflict of interest the judge said may have “seriously prejudiced” 59 plaintiffs.

In an order issued Friday, the judge faulted Worby Groner Edelman & Napoli Bern for removing the 59 plaintiffs from the eligible plaintiffs’ list for the 2010 settlement in In re World Trade Center Disaster Site Litigation, 21 MC 100, a deal that calls for upwards of $700 million in payouts to those who responded after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and cleaned up the site.

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