9/11 film explores legal questions of human worth

A Westchester County woman has helped to produce a documentary focusing on the legal, moral, and ethical issues surrounding the 9/11 Victim’s Compensation Fund and its impact on the civil justice system.

Judy Wacht, a Purchase resident who worked for years as a guidance counselor at Blind Brook High School, is the associate producer of “Out of the Ashes 9/11.” The public is invited to a free screening of the film at 5:30 p.m on Monday, Sept. 12 at the New York County Lawyers Association, 14 Vesey Street, between Broadway and Church Street, one block from Ground Zero ( St. Paul’s Chapel is across the street).

The federal government created the Victim Compensation Fund 11 days after the attacks, making it one of the largest public entitlement programs ever. The film will explore questions such as: Was justice delivered? Were the methods for calculating the value of a human life, an appropriate model? Did the Fund undermine our legal system, hide the facts about 9/11, or offer 9/11 families a way to avoid the cost, complexity, and slow pace of a lawsuit?

Following the film will be discussion by the Co-director/Executive Producer of the film, Seattle University Law School Professor Professor Marilyn J. Berger and invited guests. The documentary will be shown again on Sept. 13 at 5 p.m. at the Quinnipac University School of Law and on Sept. 14 at the Yale School of Law.

In related news, this week’s edition of the New York Law Journal is featuring essays written by top judges and lawyers around the state about the impact 9/11 has had on the law and how it’s practiced. One of the essayists was Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore. Others include Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, Chief Administrative Judge Ann Pfau, state Bar Association President Vincent E. Doyle III and former U.S. Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey.