Posted on 21 Sep 2012 by Neilson
Penn State has hired Kenneth Feinberg, the attorney who oversaw the Sept. 11 victims compensation fund, to help settle lawsuits filed by Jerry Sandusky victims against the university.
According to the university, the aim is to settle outstanding lawsuits and expected ones by the end of the year.
A dispute resolution specialist, Feinberg also ran the BP Deepwater Horizon fund to compensate those affected by the 2010 oil spill.
"We have been retained by Penn State to help both the University and individuals alleging sexual abuse reach a voluntary settlement in those individual cases where terms and conditions can be agreed upon," Feinberg said in an announcement by the university. "We are not administering a compensation fund and have no binding authority to compel a settlement.
"We will merely facilitate the effort and only in those cases where individuals and their lawyers are so inclined. Having managed similar cases in the past, we are confident we can help all parties involved in this matter and are pleased to have been selected for such an important role."
Penn State will work with Feinberg and Michael Rozen from Feinberg Rozen LLP.
Feinberg's work has not been without criticism, including how he decided how much the Sept. 11 victims' families should receive in compensation.
In June, when asked about the Penn State case, Feinberg told the CDT that the university's goal will be to bring together as many victims as possible.
"The question is, are they going to provide a generous program that really does encourage people to (participate)," he said at the time.
Attorneys have estimated that Penn State could face lawsuits with damages adding up to tens of millions of dollars.
University leaders have said they want to work with Sandusky's victims, but have been under fire for not moving quickly.
In June, President Rodney Erickson said the university plans to ask Sandusky's victims to participate in a claims resolution program.
"The purpose of the program is simple -- the university wants to provide a forum where the university can privately, expeditiously and fairly address the victims' concerns and compensate them for claims relating to the university," Erickson said. "Counsel to the university plan to reach out to counsel to the victims of Mr. Sandusky's abuse in the near future with additional details."