Thursday, September 22, 2011

Family of hockey scout settles last remaining 9/11 lawsuit

The family of Mark Bavis, an LA Kings scout who died aboard United Flight 175 when it crashed into the World Trade Center during the Sept. 11 attacks, has settled its lawsuit against the airline and its security company. See the AP story here

Bavis' family, including his identical twin brother Mike, a BU assistant coach, had insisted that they would not settle (see my earlier story here) because it was more important to them to investigate and expose the failures of airline security. They had hoped to house their findings at the 9/11 memorial at ground zero. But the family, and its lawyers, say U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein gutted its case, limiting the amount of time for the trial to three weeks. He also kept much of the information under seal, for national security reasons.

The family explained its change of heart this way:

"This change is the result of a recent ruling by the Honorable Judge Alvin Hellerstein. With the stroke of his pen, Judge Hellerstein very cleverly changed this lawsuit. The lawsuit was about wrongful death, gross negligence and a complete lack of appreciation for the value of human life. He instead made it a case about a federal regulation. He ignored 100 years of aviation law and relied on an environmental case to apply federal preemption. He essentially gutted the case so that the truth about what led to the events of Sept. 11, 2001, would never be told at trial."

The amount of the settlement has not been disclosed. I would be interested in seeing whether it came in higher than the average $2 million payment from the Victims Compensation Fund, and higher than the $5.5 million average from the other cases that went to court before settling.