On the eve of the most bitterly contested trial in recent New York history, both sides in the massive ground zero lawsuit blinked. On a Thursday afternoon in early March 2010, lawyers announced that they had reached the comprehensive type of global settlement that Judge Alvin Hellerstein had been advocating so earnestly for so many years. The 70-page draft agreement that Hellerstein had alluded to in his courtroom a few months earlier, much to the surprise of lawyers, had morphed into 95 pages of excruciatingly detailed compromise, followed by an entire alphabet of exhibits detailing an elaborate scheme for putting a price on sickness without determining fault.

With New York City straining for a way to bring this sorrowful chapter ...

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