[JURIST] Lawyer Kenneth R. Feinberg [corporate profile] was appointed Thursday to head the distribution effort [press release] of the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund [academic website] established to aid victims and families of the April 16 massacre at Virginia Tech [JURIST news archive] that left 33 people dead and 25 wounded in the largest shooting spree in US history [MSNBC backgrounder]. Virginia Tech President Charles Steger [academic website] said that Feinberg, who also served as the administrator for the September 11 compensation fund, will work pro bono for the fund and will provide the necessary expert advice in the distribution of approximately $6 million in undesignated donations.
Feinberg, a specialist in mediation, arbitration, and alternative dispute resolution, served pro bono as Special Master [Wex backgrounder] of the federal September 11th Victim Compensation Fund [official website] for 33 months and distributed over $7 billion in public funds to families and victims injured in the September 11 attacks. In January 2003, seven families of 9/11 victims filed a class action lawsuit [complaint, PDF; JURIST report] against Feinberg, alleging that he administered the fund arbitrarily. The families specifically objected to Feinberg's calculation of wrongful death compensation based upon after-tax projections of lost income, and also challenged Feinberg's proposal to cap individual awards over $6 million. The suit, along with two other similar actions, was subsequently dismissed [NYLJ report] by a federal judge who found that Feinberg acted "reasonably and properly" to implement the intent of Congress. The Washington Post has more.