Five families settle 9/11 lawsuits with airline
CBS reported on Wednesday that four Maryland families have reached a settlement in a 9/11 lawsuit they filed against American Airlines, Boeing companies responsible for security screenings at Washington's Dulles International Airport.
A fifth family has settled with the airline but not with the owners of the World Trade Center.
The families, who chose not to receive money through the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund, had instead opted for litigation in hopes that their suits would give them a better understanding of the security breakdowns that allowed the tragedy to occur.
"I really didn't go into it for the money,"Irene Golinski, whose husband was killed at the Pentagon, told the Washington Post. "I went into it for the answers."
But the money awarded to the families -- an amount being kept confidential in accordance with terms of the settlement -- is "substantial," says the families' lead attorney, Kieth Franz.
Christine Fisher, one of Franz's clients in the suit whose husband also died at the Pentagon, told the Post that part of the reason she had chosen to eschew an award from the Victim Compensation Fund was the possibility of receiving a larger amount through the legal system.
"It was a financial decision, but it was also an emotional and accountability decision," she told told the paper.
According to the Baltimore Sun, however, the money will be used by the families to establish foundations in their lost loved ones' names.
Franz said in a press release that the fundamental goal of the lawsuit was to gain "answers as to how 9/11 was allowed to happen," continuing that his clients wanted "the airlines and security companies responsible for protecting the public to step up and share responsibility."
Although the lawyer was adamant that evidence uncovered during the lawsuits proved "airlines and security contractors were responsible for profound failures in security that could have prevented the attacks," he and the families are bound by a gag order that prevents them from disclosing details.
Precise information about was found may never be released, but the Post did try to ascertain a rough estimate by asking Christine Fisher to grade "how much she has learned about the private companies' actions" on Sept. 11 on a scale from one to ten.
"Seven to eight," Fisher responded.
The following video clips are from CBS News, broadcast on October 3, 2007.