Skadden Partner to Head 9/11 Compensation Fund
Posted May 18, 2011 11:17 AM CDT
By Stephanie Francis Ward
Sheila Birnbaum, who heads the mass torts and insurance litigation group at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, has been selected to lead the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, the Justice Department announced today.
Last December, Congress passed a bill that provides up to $4.2 billion in new aid to Sept. 11 terrorism attack survivors, including $1.5 billion to monitor health concerns for rescue and cleanup workers, the Associated Press reports. The bill reactivates the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, which was operational from 2001-2003.
"My first priority will be to sit down with the people who will be most affected by the program, and see how we can design a program that is fair, transparent and easy to navigate," Birnbaum said in the Justice Department statement about her appointment. "The fund needs to get up and running quickly. At the same time, I want to make sure we do it right."
According to the statement, the fund is expected to become fully operational on Oct. 1, 2011, after funding appropriated for its administration becomes available.
Previously, Birnbaum mediated lawsuits brought by family members of Sept. 11 victims. She worked to reach a settlement of $500 million for 92 families.