The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund: An Effective Administrative Response to National Tragedy
96 Pages Posted: 5 Nov 2019
Date Written: 2005
In this article, I examine the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund from both a procedural and substantive standpoint. The procedural analysis will look at both the "upstream" process, i.e., the law-making process under which the legislation was enacted and the rules for the Fund were established, and the "downstream" process under which claims were resolved and compensation has been paid out. Intertwined with the procedure are the substantive rules of recovery, including the largely formulaic means through which compensation was determined with a minimum of fact-finding and advocacy. I will examine how the administrative process dealt with a legislative mandate that failed to clearly set forth whether the Fund was to serve primarily as a means of providing emergency relief to needy victims, or as an alternative means of tort recovery. Closely linked to this discussion is the public perception of the fairness of the Fund's compensation scheme, and what that might tell us about the normative value of traditional rules of tort recovery. Both the procedural and substantive elements of the Fund should generate reflection regarding the capability of the administrative process to respond to disaster and, for that matter, the fairness and efficiency of the administrative process in general.
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