Judge Sets a One Month Deadline in 9/11 Wrongful Death Case

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Photo: Henry Ray Abrams/Getty Images

Mark Bavis was a passenger on the second plane that hit the World Trade Center on September 11th. His family have waited nine years to sue United Airlines for wrongful death and have refused to settle the case out of court, unlike other families affected by the disaster. Their suit is the last pending lawsuit related to the events of September 11th, and Federal Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein has made the rare move of putting a month limit on the length of the trial in order to expedite a judgment. Each side will have between 50 and 60 hours to present its case. “The time is going to be expressed not in days, but in minutes,” explained Hellerstein. “Everything the party wishes to do from openings through summations.”

Both the prosecution and defense have expressed their unhappiness with Hellerstein's decision. “The person that is affected the most is my client,” said Donald Migliori, the lawyer for the Bavis family. “We’re talking about millions of pages of documents. We’re talking about distilling one of the most important stories in American history.” And legal experts aren't too thrilled, either. “I’m sure if I shared this with my friends who are litigators, they’d be horrified,” said Yale law professor Stephen L. Carter.

A 9/11 Judge Sets a Timer for a Month [NYT]