The Massachusetts Bar Association has urged Attorney General
Martha Coakley to actively intervene in the administration of the
One Fund and its ongoing awarding of compensatory funds to injured
victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.
Numerous counsel to victims have raised serious concerns that the
protocol used by the One Fund to make awards has resulted in
victims, who suffered very serious injuries, receiving either very
low sums or no award at all. The MBA has called on Coakley to
oversee the future distributions from the One Fund after the
departure of fund administrator Kenneth Feinberg.
Attorney Feinberg has now disclosed that although victims
submitted descriptions of actual injuries with their claims, he
considered none of this critical information and instead based the
vast majority of his recent awards solely on the length of
hospitalizations or on whether victims sought emergency outpatient
treatment following the bombing. By using this measure as a
supposed proxy for injury severity, Feinberg overlooked the fact
that many victims, particularly those who are suffering sensory or
cognitive impairments, had injuries that were not immediately
apparent, or not diagnosed, until days later and therefore did not
result in extensive hospitalizations. For victims like the Alabama
doctor whose hearing loss has caused him to shut his practice, or
the international aid worker who suffered a traumatic brain injury
and can no longer work (neither were hospitalized), Feinberg's
protocol means they received the lowest possible award, just $8,000
each, from the $61 million distributed.
It is the MBA's hope that under the Attorney General's oversight,
future One Fund donations can be used to remedy some of the
inequities of Feinberg's short-sighted protocol. If that occurs,
the One Fund will be the resounding success its donors expect and
all of the victims of the Marathon bombing surely deserve.