source: Daily Mail July 29, 2011
The mother of a 9/11 victim is set to make legal history after being allowed to seek damages for the terror her son suffered before his hijacked jet plunged into the Twin Towers.
Mary Bavis has been told she can seek millions in damages for the ‘pain and suffering’ her 31-year-old son Mark endured after hijackers took over his flight.
A judge has ruled that the 21 minutes United Airlines flight 175 was on a collision course with the World Trade Centre can be taken into consideration in a wrongful death lawsuit.
The terror suffered by Mr Bavis and the other 65 passengers were documented in frantic calls made from the doomed flight.
Passenger Peter Hanson managed to get through to his father, telling him, ‘It’s getting bad, Dad. A stewardess was stabbed.
‘They seem to have knives and mace. They said they have a bomb. It’s getting very bad on the plane. Passengers are throwing up and getting sick. The plane is making jerky movements.
‘I don’t think the pilot is flying the plane. I think we are going down. I think they intend to go to Chicago or someplace and fly into a building. Don’t worry, Dad. If it happens, it’ll be very fast…Oh, my God… oh my God, oh my God.’
Minutes later, the Boeing 767 slammed into the south tower of the World Trade Centre, the second of the hijacked planes used in the suicide mission.
The Bavis family, who are suing United Airlines, want damages not only for Mark’s death but also for the last terrifying minutes of his life.
They claim United Airlines and security firm Huntleigh USA were negligent in allowing the Al Qaeda hijackers on to the flight from Boston’s Logan Airport.
The Bavis family, of Boston, Massachusetts, are the only family out of the 3,000 victims who have refused to accept a settlement.
Thousands of victims in the terror attack have shared over $7bn in compensation. More than 100 families who filed lawsuits settled for $500m.
The Bavis family’s lawsuit has been working through the court for the last decade.
In the latest ruling, Judge Alvin K Hellerstein said he would allow Mrs Bavis to seek damages for suffering on the doomed flight.
After listening to arguments from family lawyers and those for United Airlines, he said he was inclined to allow the jury to come up with ‘a figure for pain and suffering through the entire 21-minute period’.
‘My thinking is tending toward allowing terror damages,’ Judge Hellerstein told Manhattan Federal District Court.
The hearing was attended by Mark Bavis’s brothers, Patrick and his identical twin Michael.
He said afterwards: ‘This is my brother’s voice, this trial.’
Lawyers for United Airlines have tried to have the case dismissed, saying that under Massachusetts law, damages can only be paid for ‘conscious suffering resulting from the same injury’.
They argued that Mr Bavis was not injured prior to the hijacked jet crashing.
The wrongful death lawsuit is due to be heard in November.