By Ben Present
Of the Legal Staff
Penn State has hired Kenneth R. Feinberg, the man who ran the 9/11 victim fund and other major settlement programs, to resolve the university’s legal proceedings with the victims of convicted serial child sexual abuser and former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
Several press reports surfaced Thursday quoting attorneys who confirmed that Penn State notified them Feinberg, of Feinberg Rozen, would be orchestrating the settlement talks. So far, no settlements, nor settlement discussions, have been reported by the university or the accusers’ attorneys.
Feinberg was also at the helm of the Virginia Tech shooting victim fund and the B.P. oil spill victim fund. According to an Associated Press report, the former doled out $6.5 million to more than 30 families while the latter had eclipsed $6 billion as of March.
Following Sandusky’s conviction on 45 counts of child sex abuse in June, Penn State President Rodney Erickson promised a quick and fair resolution the victims’ claims outside of court. Thursday, nearly three months later, Erickson said the assistance of Feinberg’s firm will aid that cause, which he said he hoped to complete by the end of the year.
“In retaining Feinberg Rozen LLP, with their nationally recognized expertise, we are seeking to make sure we do the right thing in terms of providing a just outcome for the victims,” Erickson said. “We hope to enable a process that will result in settlement of many of the civil cases so that the victims will not have to be drawn through legal process.”
Plaintiffs attorneys interviewed by The Legal have said the settlements could be in the ballpark of tens of millions.