The Newspaper "El Dario" earlier this year posted the story about our office securing pay which had been wrongfully withheld from approximately thirty-one construction workers who were Spanish speaking immigrants. The contractors who withheld proper payment tried to intimidate the men. The back pay which was agreed upon after our firm came into the picture was approximately $400,000.00. Payment will be made through the New York City Comptrollers Office once all the necessary papers are executed.
Negligence Specialist Bests TWA on Bombing
Lewis, who is representing the family of one of the passengers killed in the explosion that follwed, argued that the alleged bomber, May Elias Mansourm, had met TWA's profile for probable security risks at the Cairo airport. "Despite this," Lewis says, "[TWA] facilitated her passage through security," letting her bypass the regular checkpoint when she arrived late.
Mansour hid a timed plastique bomb under her seat, Lewis contends, and TWA failed to find the explosive during routine searches of the plane later that day. On a subsequent flight the bomb detonated, killing four passengers and wounding nine.
Lewis, who specializes in negligence cases, filed suit against TWA in October 1986. His first hurdle was persuading the federal court that the case should be heard in this country. Then, to collect more than the $75,000 in damaged allowed by the Warsaw Convention, Lewis had to prove willful misconduct by the airline.
TWA counsel John Romans of the New York office of Chicago's Katten Muchin & Zavis says, "The jury held us to standards that were higher than anything the FAA mandated." TWA plans to appeal, he says.
But some of the most damaging evidence, according to Lewis, came from TWA personnel, who testified that the airline had not followed specified security procedures. "The least they could have done," says Lewis, "is look under the seat."
TWA Is Convicted in Jet Bomb Blast
Negligent Security at Airport Is Found By Brooklyn Jury
By Arnold H. Lubasch
A Brooklyn jury found Trans World Airlines guilty of willful misconduct last week for failing to take adequate precautions to prevent a bomb explosion on a jetliner near Athens five years ago.
The jury’s verdict, delivered Thursday in the second phase of a civil trial, confirmed the jury’s earlier award of $2.8 million to the family of a passenger who was injured as a result of the midair explosion.
If the jury had not found willful misconduct, the award would have been reduced to $75,000. An international airline convention limits damages to $75,000 except in cases of willful misconduct, a form of negligence.
The civil trial, conducted by Judge Jack B. Weinstein in Federal District Court in Brooklyn, was closed to the public and to news organizations during testimony about secret airline security procedures.
At first, Judge Weinstein granted the Federal Government’s request to close the courtroom for the entire liability phase of the trial. But after hearing arguments by a lawyer for The New York Times, the judge agreed to limit the closing to testimony that could jeopardize airline safety.
Woman Boarded in Cairo
The case concerned an explosion aboard a T.W.A. flight approaching Athens on April 2 nd, 1986. A woman was suspected of placing the bomb on the plane for a terrorist group. Four passengers were killed and several were injured, but the plane landed safely.
The plaintiffs in the case were Mohsen Youssef, an injured passenger, and the wife and children of Alberto Ospina, a passenger who was killed. Most of the other cases stemming from the explosion were settled without trials.
A lawyer for the Ospina family, Fredric Lewis, said the verdict would make airlines more careful, particularly in areas were terrorists are known to operate.
He had told the jury that T.W.A. personnel had allowed a woman to board in Cairo without proper security procedures even though she met a profile for suspicious passengers.
A T.W.A lawyer, John Romans, said he would consult with his client on whether to appeal the verdict.
Mr. Romans told the jury that T.W.A “met or exceeded every single Government standard applicable to this case.”
This article originally appeared in the The New York Times on Sunday, June 9th, 1991.
A federal jury found Trans World Airlines guilty yesterday of "willful misconduct" in connection with a terrorist bombing in 1986 that killed four passengers aboard a TWA jetliner flying to Athens from Rome.
The verdict, the second phase of the trial in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, allows the family of one of the victims to collect $2.8 million and an injured passenger to collect $250,000 - awards granted by the same jury last month. If TWA had been cleared of any responsibility, the plaintiffs would have been limited to $75,000 awards provided by the Warsaw Convention, which governs international flights.
"This will make the airlines more aware and careful of the safety of its passengers, especially in a dangerous terrorist high risk area," said Frederic Lewis, the attorney for the family of Alberto Ospina was one of four passengers who were hurled to their deaths when a bomb blew a gaping hole in the side of the plane.
Mohsen Youssef of Washington, D.C., who was among a number of passengers injured in the incident, was awarded $250,000.
U.S. District Court Judge Jack B. Weinstein closed most of the liability phase of the trial to the public and press at the request of Justice Department attorneys who maintained that much of the testimony involved "sensitive airline security information." The bombing is still under investigation. Of about 60 lawsuits filed as a result of the incident, most were settled before trial.
John Romana, a TWA attorney, declined to comment on the verdicts and said he would have to check with his clients before deciding whether to appeal. Weinstein ordered the airline to post a bond "to protect the plaintiffs."
During the two-week trial, Lewis argued that TWA "acted in a willful, wanton manner" by failing to check under seat cushions for explosives when the plane took off from Cairo and landed in Athens, when it took off from Athens and landed in Rome and when it took off from Rome to return to Athens.
Lewis also charged that airline personnel failed to search or screen the carry-on luggage and portable radio of a woman from Lebanon who boarded the plane in Cairo and was allowed to get off the plane in Athens even though she had no visa. She had been sitting in the same seat that was occupied by Ospina when the bomb exploded on the return flight to Athens.This article originally appeared in The New York Newsday on June 7th, 1991.
|Bomb victim's kin win 2.8M from TWA
By Ruben Rosario
A federal jury in Brooklyn awarded $2.8 million yesterday to the family of a man killed in a midair explosion after finding Trans World Airlines liable for allowing the bomber to board the plane undetected.
The jury also awarded $250,000 to one of the nine passengers in the incident.
The case involved the last of a series of lawsuits filed after the April 2, 1986, explosion aboard TWA Fight 840 as it approached Athens.
A powerful timing device planted under a seat exploded and tore a hole in the cabin. Four Americans were sucked through the hole and plunged 15,000 feet to their deaths. They were Alberto Ospina, 37, a Connecticut salesman whose family won the large award yesterday, and members of the three generations of another family.
An underground Palestinian terrorist group with alleged ties to Libya later claimed responsibility for the bombing.
Monsey Lawyer Wins Case For Firefighter
by Rick Thomas
A Monsey lawyer said Tuesday he has settled a New York City firefighter’s suit against the city and a drug rehabilitation foundation for $1.1 million.
Attorney Fredric Lewis, known for winning a negligence case against Consolidated Edison Co. following the 1977 blackout, said the firefighter, Robert Stears of Long Island, sued after suffering second- and third-degree burns over 37 percent of his body during a blaze to a vacant dormitory owned by the Phoenix House Foundation. Stears, upon entering the building to search for inhabitants, fell through the floor inside the doorway and became trapped in the basement, he said.
The suit, filed May 25, 1978, charged that the city had failed to mark 205 East 16 th St. vacant and the drug rehabilitation center had neglected to seal off the building, Lewis said.
Attorneys for New York City and Phoenix House, could not be reached for comment on the settlement, which Lewis said was reached Tuesday after he rested his case.
The attorney said the city will pay $125,000 of the settlement and Phoenix House will pay $975,000.
Lewis is best known for winning a unanimous ruling from the state Court of Appeals in 1981 that Con-Ed was guilty of gross negligence during the 1977 New York City blackout.
This article originally appreared in the The Journal-News
Blackout Award Against Con Ed Upheld in Court
In its ruling, the Court of Appeals agreed unanimously that Food Pageant, a grocery chain now in bankruptcy, should get $40,500 for food spoilage and lost business in a half-dozen stores.
Decision ‘Absolutely’ Binding
This article originally appeared in the Late City Edition of the New York Times on November 20th of 1981.