First Awards Under Victims Compensation Fund Average US$1.36 Million.
Yesterday, Kenneth Fienberg, the Special Master for the 11 September Victim Compensation Fund announced nine payments accepted by families of victims killed in the 11 September terrorist attacks.  The awards average US$1,363,629, with a median award of US$1,233,158.  These figures represent the awards AFTER collateral offsets.  According to Feinberg, twenty-five offers were made.  Nine were accepted; four were subject to further hearings requested by the petitioners; and twelve remained unanswered.  To date, 662 applications for compensation have been submitted, more than half since June of this year.

The statistics for the awards to date can be found on the Department of Justice web site at www.usdoj.gov.victimcompensation/payments.html.  The site includes the following table of current awards after collateral offsets:

 Income Level    Age    Range
$50,000  or less    35 and Under    $610,000-$1.4 Million
$50,000 or less    Over 35    $650,000 to $763,000
$50,000 to $100,000    35 and Under    $990,000  to US$1.3 Million
$50,000 to $100,000    Over 35    $300,000 to US$ 1.9 Million*
$100,000 to $200,000    All ages    $1.2 Million to $2.8 Million
Over $200,000    All Ages    $2.1 Million to $3.0 Million

The above chart is light on detail.  Information on marital and dependent status would aid in the analysis of these awards as would information on the awards before the collateral source deductions.  Absent additional information, it is difficult to extrapolate information on the decedents from these award ranges.  The top presumed award utilizing the current tables is approximately US$4.54 Million, for a thirty-five year-old married decedent making US$225,000.00 per year and having two dependent children.

*By way of comparison, US$1.9 Million is the approximate pre-offset award to a married thirty-five year-old decedent with two dependent children earning US$60,000 per year and that of a married thirty-five year-old decedent with one dependent child earning US$70,000.00.

Lawsuit Against Saudis Imminent
On another front, U.S. Lawyer Allan Gershon is commencing a law suit against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the NEW YORK TIMES reports.  According to the TIMES report, the suit will involve more than 300 families and is premised upon Saudi support of terrorist activity.  Pursuant to the Victim Compensation Act, claimants pursuing claims against terrorists and terrorist-supporting nations do not waive their rights to a claim under the fund.  The full TIMES article can be found at www.nytimes/2002/08/15/international/middleeast/15SAUD.html
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