9/11 Damages Trials To Begin in the Fall
July 13, 2007
As reported in this AP article, Southern District of New York Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein has scheduled the trials of 9/11victims who have chosen to litigate rather than accept monies from a federal fund. From the article:
The trials to determine the potential compensatory damages in six lawsuits will begin Sept. 4. In all, 41 cases are still pending that were brought by families who didn't take compensation money.
The liability phase will be decided by a single jury later. Defendants will include airlines, airline manufacturers such as Boeing and agencies like the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, that were responsible for security at airports or the World Trade Center.
Of particular interest is that Judge Hellerstein has scheduled the damage phase of some trials to occur before the liability phase:
U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein also took the unusual step of scheduling the damages portion of some of the cases — usually the second phase of a trial — before a jury even determines if the airlines and their security contractors can be held liable...
Andrew Maloney, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said it is unusual to have a trial on damages before it is decided who might be forced to pay them, but he said it has happened before in airline disaster cases.
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