Kenneth Feinberg to Head Sept. 11 Victims’ Fund

November 27, 2001

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft has named Kenneth Feinberg, a Washington lawyer and former aide to Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), to head the Victims’ Compensation Fund, established by the government to help the thousands of people affected by September’s terrorist attacks.

The fund, which is scheduled to begin operating Dec. 21, will provide compensation to the victims and families for lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages, but will require that they waive their rights to sue the airlines involved in the attacks, or other potentially responsible entities.

Feinberg will have a lot of tough decisions to make in setting up the Fund’s administrative rules and procedures. High on the list are: How people should apply for compensation; what the parameters for payments will include; whether compensation from other sources, such as charities, pensions and insurance settlements, will be deducted from the eventual amount paid; whether there’ll be a right of appeal for claimants who are unsatisfied with the amounts awarded, and whether payments will include the recovery of attorney’s fees.

The Justice Department is still working on the rules governing the Fund’s operations, and Feinberg will add a great deal of experience to the process. He was a special counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee from 1975 to 1980, and has served as an arbitrator in high profile cases involving asbestos, nuclear facilities and Agent Orange.

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