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This image released by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP shows attorney Sheila Birnbaum, a prominent New York attorney known as the "Queen of Torts" for her courtroom defense of some of the country's top companies.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A prominent New York attorney known as the “Queen of Torts” for her courtroom defense of some of the country’s top companies is tackling a vastly different job — running the $2.78 billion fund to compensate ground zero workers and others who say they were sickened by the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attack wreckage.

The Justice Department tapped Sheila Birnbaum for the post on Wednesday, citing her previous work as the mediator in lawsuits brought by families of the victims of the attack. In that role she negotiated a settlement of $500 million for 92 families who sought claims.

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