by Bandbsull source: 9/11 Blogger Aug 14, 2010
On July 23, 2010 Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein published an order terminating motions in the 9/11 wrongful death cases of Barbara Keating and Sara Low.
After languishing in his court for years and being told by their attorneys that they had almost no chance of getting a trial on liability, a proposed settlement was proffered in Keating v. American Airlines, Inc. and Low v. U.S. Airways, Inc. Unfortunately the good judge essentially sat on the motions for several months, neither ruling for or against them.
Can you imagine how the Keating and Low families felt? After all this time a settlement is finally agreed upon by both the plaintiffs and the defendants and what does Hellerstein do? Nothing! He simply refuses to rule either way.
It was not a case of the plaintiffs withdrawing before approval could be granted. Rather, it was that approval, nor for that matter disapproval, was simply not forthcoming. After twisting in the wind for so long and having all their efforts to establish a public archive squashed, the Low family, in particular, was devastated.
Still, they pushed forward and did achieve some archiving of depositions outside the control of Hellerstein as part of a proposed out of court settlement. That is one of the reasons they we were wary of any injunctive action by the judge which might continue to conceal what limited amount of information they were able to secure for public archiving.
Obviously speaking out was not an option since Judge Hellerstein held the fate of their 9/11 litigation in his hands. So what else could they do?
In the July 23 order the parties in the Keating and Low cases represented that they proposed to withdraw their joint motions for approval of their settlements and, instead, file stipulations to dismiss their cases. Since Judge Hellerstein had refused to rule one way or the other on their proposed settlements, it put both the plaintiffs and the defendants in the unenviable position of considering an out of court settlement in order to expedite the process. If they couldn’t achieve justice in Judge Hellertsein’s court perhaps they might be able to achieve it outside of his court. What a keg of worms!
Hopefully the Low and Keating families will now be able to achieve some modicum of peace and put the horror of 9/11 behind them, no thanks to Judge Hellerstein.
This will leave just one wrongful death suit, that involving Mark Bavis, a passenger on United Flight 175. What do you think the chances are that Judge Hellerstein will see to it that the Bavis family is granted the trial they’ve asked for? Zero to none is my guess.
So far transparency has taken a back seat to pressure to settle the wrongful death suits. With only one of 95 cases left, Judge Hellerstein certainly has been successful in pushing for settlements with confidentiality agreements, versus an open trial, thereby allowing the airlines and other aviation defendants to buy silence. My expectation is that we’ll see more of the same, while 9/11 truth continues to languish in the halls of justice.