Feinberg Appointed as Special Master
On November 26, 2001, Attorney General John Ashcroft appointed Kenneth R. Feinberg as Special Master for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001 (the “Fund”), established by the Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act (“ATSASSA”). Pursuant to ATSASSA, implementation of the Fund will commence on December 21, 2001. The role of the Special Master will include drafting the fund’s rules and procedures and determining the eligible claimants, the extent of harm, the amount of compensation each claimant is entitled, and the reduction of awards by “collateral sources” (e.g. whether the fund’s award will be reduced by any charity contributions the family received). Mr. Feinberg will approve all awards.

Mr. Feinberg brings with him an extensive background in governmental public service and arbitration of mass tort cases. From 1972 to 1975, Mr. Feinberg served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. From 1975 to 1978, he was special counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. From 1978 to 1980, Mr. Feinberg served as chief of staff for Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Mr. Feinberg has taught at the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University, University of Pennsylvania Law School, New York University School of Law, and the University of Virginia Law School. Presently, Mr. Feinberg has his own firm, The Feinberg Group, LLP specializing in alternative dispute resolution and negotiating the resolution of complex legal disputes.

Mr. Feinberg’s experience in mass tort cases includes the following: Court-Appointed Special Settlement Master for In re Andrew Harman, et. al. v. Westinghouse Electric Corporation (an employment discrimination class action), Special Settlement Master for In re Agent Orange Product Liability Litigation (class action involving soldiers claiming injuries from defoliation chemicals used in Vietnam), and Special Settlement Master for Asbestos Personal Injury Litigation (federal and state for personal injury or wrongful death). In January 1999, Mr. Feinberg was part of a three-person panel to determine compensation for the heirs of the late Abraham Zapruder’s film of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Aviation and Transportation Security Act Amends ATSASSA
On November 19, 2001, President Bush signed the highly anticipated Aviation and Transportation Security Act (the “Act”). In addition to addressing airport security, Title II of the Act makes several amendments to the Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act (“ATSASSA”). The original ATSASSA precluded claimants who filed under the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (the “Fund”) from pursuing any civil action; thereby precluding them from seeking compensation against terrorists or terrorists nations. The amendment allows families who file claims under the Fund to also pursue a civil action against the terrorists or terrorist nations. Second, the Act amends ATSASSA by extending the insurance coverage liability limitation to aircraft manufacturers, airport sponsors, and others with a property interests in the World Trade Center. Finally, the Acts provides a limitation on liability for claims against the City of New York arising from the terrorist-related aircraft crashes of September 11th that “shall not exceed the greater of the city’s insurance coverage or $350,000,000.”