FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: FRIDAY, JULY 16, 2004
Contact: Bob Weiner/Taylor Jubanowsky/Sasha Varghese 301-283-0821 or 202-329-1700
(San Francisco, CA) – Mary Alexander, National Political Action Committee Chair of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA) and a San Francisco consumer advocacy attorney, reported today that 98% of the September 11th victims’ families nationwide opted to apply to the Victims’ Compensation Fund, rather than sue by last month’s deadline.
Trial Lawyers Care (TLC), more than 1100 trial lawyers providing help as volunteers to the victims of the September 11th disasters, represented over half of the 2900 victims’ families from the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and Pennsylvania. “ATLA’s work was the largest pro-bono legal effort in U.S. history,” Alexander said.
Alexander wrote an article in the San Francisco and Los Angeles Daily Journals today saying, “The families were devastated by their loss and grief. Litigation would have caused uncertainty and time, given that suits were considered against airline giants, security companies, foreign governments, and terrorist organizations among others.”
“The greatest achievement of the Victims’ Compensation Fund has been to bring justice to the families – including those in the Bay Area,” said Alexander. Melissa Mennie, 27-year-old daughter of Alan Mennie of San Leandro, was working in the Pentagon when Flight 77 crashed into it. Derrill Bodley’s daughter Deora, 20, a student at Santa Clara University, was the youngest person on Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania.
Alexander wrote, “ATLA felt that if the country were to protect airlines from the financial impact of 9-11, it certainly should assist the individual victims (and their families) of this unprecedented attack. To leave the families out in the cold would have been the ultimate injustice.”
“Leaders on both sides of the aisle agreed,” Alexander stated. On September 21, 2001, “in a remarkable spirit of bipartisan comity, Congress passed and the president signed into law the Victim Compensation Fund.”
Kenneth Feinberg, Special Master to the Fund, and Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer recently attended this month’s ATLA national convention and honored the efforts and contributions made by Trial Lawyers Care. Alexander was presented an award for her pro bono representation of 9-11 victims.
“I’ve never been more proud in my life of what trial lawyers did than for the people and families who were victims of the September 11th attack against America,” said Alexander, whom the San Francisco Daily Journal recently named one of the top 50 female lawyers in California.
Source: Robert Weiner Associates 301-283-0821/202-329-1700