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A federal judge has dealt a setback to a Massachusetts family's efforts to find accountability for 9/11. In New York Tuesday, the judge ruled that Massport should not be a defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the Bavis family.
Massport runs Boston Logan International Airport, where Mark Bavis boarded one of the planes hijacked on 9/11.
Mark Bavis was 31 years old when he was killed.
He worked for the National Hockey League's LA Kings as a hockey scout, and he was flying from Boston, where he's from, to LA, where his team was, on 9/11.
His twin brother, Mike Bavis, who is an assistant hockey coach for Boston University, spoke to WBUR as he was driving back from New York:
It's disappointing because if we don't have accountability in our country, then it's only a matter of time before the next Massport claims: "Sorry, it wasn't us." Accountability is important to preventing these types of things or other incidents where people get hurt or people die. And that's what this was always about and it still is about.
United Airlines and Huntleigh Security, which ran the Logan checkpoint for United, are still defendants in the case, and it's scheduled to go to trial in November.
The Bavis family is the only family of a 9/11 victim still suing and refusing to settle for financial damages.
Donald Migliori, one of the attorneys for the Bavis family, has represented many of the Massachusetts families who lost loved ones after hijackers boarded those planes at Logan Airport and crashed them into the World Trade Center in New York.
"The Bavis family is here as the last family standing because they want to make sure this information gets out into the public," Migliori said after the court hearing, "and that people have the ability to understand what happened that day so that there's some accountability and hopefully there's some preventability.
"There's some chance that this won't happen ever again. The families also hope that one day all of the information gathered from all of these screeners and all of these people that we took depositions of, this information ends up in a public forum."
The judge made it clear in court that he agreed with Massport that it had responsibility for security up to the checkpoints, and United had responsibility for security from the checkpoint on.
And because of that, Migliori said he's actually encouraged about the rest of the case against United and its security company, because the judge made it clear that he considers them to have had control over security at the checkpoint.
Migliori is encouraged for another reason. United had argued that if it followed the letter of the FAA security regulations, it was off the hook.
But the judge seemed to indicate Wednesday that he would hold United to a higher standard than that. Migliori has argued that United had to go beyond just doing what FAA regulations required, that it had an obligation to do what was reasonable to make sure its passengers were safe from hijackers.
The judge also indicated that he was inclined to agree that the Bavis family, if it can prove its case, should also be compensated for the suffering that Mark Bavis felt during all that time that he knew the plane was being hijacked.
Migliori has been arguing that Massachusetts law should apply, and under Massachusetts law, the suffering that a victim undergoes should be considered when figuring out compensation for the victim's family.
This program aired on July 28, 2011.
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