The family of former Los Angeles Kings' scout Mark Bavis has decided to settle its 911 wrongful death suit against United Airlines and the security company Huntleigh USA.
The Bavis' had sued over the death of their son Mark, who was aboard United Airlines Flight 175 when it crashed into the World Trade Center 10 years ago. The case was headed for a November trial but was dismissed Tuesday without details of a settlement.
The Bavis', whose other son Mike is an assistant coach with the Boston University men's hockey team, were the last 911 family to settle their suit filed after the terrorist attacks.
The family issued a statement Wednesday explaining their actions.
"After ten long years, our family has had a change in position regarding the litigation on behalf of our son and brother, Mark. Mark was a passenger aboard United Airlines Flight 175 when it crashed into the World Trade Center. This change is the result of a recent ruling by the Honorable Judge Alvin Hellerstein. With the stroke of his pen, Judge Hellerstein very cleverly changed this lawsuit. The lawsuit was about wrongful death, gross negligence and a complete lack of appreciation for the value of human life.
"He instead made it a case about a federal regulation. He ignored 100 years of aviation law and relied on an environmental case to apply federal preemption. He essentially gutted the case so that the truth about what led to the events of Sept. 11, 2001, would never be told at trial.
"To the families of the 9/11 victims: We can honestly say that our family envisioned a day when you could hear all the evidence, evidence that would provide an important step in moving beyond the events of that day. This process has taken a toll on us that only you could understand. We fought this long for two reasons, because we valued Mark's life in the time spent together, the shared experiences and the expectation of what life would continue to be. Secondly, the truth as to why this happened so easily should be important. Mark did not have to endure the tragedy that ended his life and neither did your loved ones.
"Due to our family's refusal to settle before this time, our attorneys at Motley Rice LLC have been able to conduct the most comprehensive investigation to date regarding how the airlines and airport security companies failed so miserably on 9/11 and in the days, weeks and months leading up to 9/11. Motley Rice's attorneys have recovered ten times more information than the 9/11 Commission in regards to the failure of the aviation industry.
"Why? Because we, and other 9/11 families, wanted answers. We want that information to be available to whoever cares to read it. It is important to us that some change comes out of the information held in those briefs. The system is clearly broken when an industry like aviation has enough power to keep a federal agency such as the FAA from implementing more stringent security measures, especially during a heightened terrorism threat level. The tail is wagging the dog, and someone in Washington needs to stand up and start holding people accountable.
"It is not out of the question that our country could endure a similar event in the future. Such a tragedy, however, should never again be the result of lack of oversight or preparation or because lobbyists have so much influence and power in Washington, D.C., that American lives are at risk. Our government's job is to protect the people—from foreign armies, terrorists and even our own American corporations. It is time that our elected officials take responsibility for the authority we have given them.
"All of the events of September 11, 2001, are open to opinion and discussion, but we believe the easiest way to have prevented the kind of horror and tragedy of 9/11 would have been to have an airline industry that made a reasonable effort to provide security for its passengers. The evidence shows that they most certainly did not.
"Lastly, we are thankful to have had a law firm like Motley Rice that was willing to stand by us and fight for the truth. Without them, we would have never learned so much about why this happened. In particular, we want to thank Don Migliori, Mary Schiavo and their entire team.