Canadian Underwriter

September 11 lawsuits in the works

January 16, 2002   by Canadian Underwriter

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Families of victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks have begun to file suit against the airlines involved. An earlier suit had been filed against United Airlines by one family of a passenger aboard the flight that struck World Trade Center (WTC) South Tower.
Now several other families have joined in four suits, naming United, American Airlines and airport security companies Huntleigh USA and Argenbright Security. Huntleigh was responsible for security at Logan International Airport in Boston, while Argenbright did so for Newark International.
The suits, filed in U.S. federal court, was filed late last week by the law firm of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei, Guilford & Schiavo. Mary Schiavo, one of the attornies involve is former inspector general
for the U.S. Department of Transportation, and has been an outspoker objector to the U.S. government’s “Victims’ Compensation Fund”. By choosing to file suit, the plaintiffs lose their right to be part of the fund.
She notes that under the fund’s rules, “Individuals’ right to seek full recovery for their damages is limited to the carrier’s insurance coverage”, which is not the case in court cases. She has objected to the government “bailing out” the airline industry and insurers and says that families will have to sue to prove a point about the lax security in U.S. airports.
The law firm has stated that the suit may be broadened to include such entities as Boeing, which designed the planes, the Federal Aviation Administration and even the flight schools that trained the terrorists involved.

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