The Electronic Telegraph 19 April 1995 The Front Page
Mrs Faith Pescatore, 37, broke down in tears when the federal jury in Long Island announced the award. Her lawyer, Mr Aaron Broder, said yesterday he believed that the settlement was the largest airline disaster award ever made to an individual.
Its size renewed bitterness last night among relatives of the 11 victims who died on the ground. Some were reported to have received less than £20,000 in an out-of-court settlement within two years of the disaster.
But lawyers bringing an action in America on behalf of relatives of 34 Britons who died on Pan Am flight 103 have welcomed the award.
Mrs Pescatore's husband, Michael, 33, was one of 259 people killed on the Boeing 747 in 1988. He was earning £74,000 a year as a vice-president for British Petroleum Chemicals of America.
Mr Broder said the award - against Pan Am and Alert Management Systems, a security firm - had "showed his human worth". It included £5.8 million for loss of income, £3.2 million for "loss of companionship, love and affection" and £3.2 million interest.
Mr Peter Watson, a Glasgow lawyer acting for the 34 British victims, said he hoped the award would lead to Pan Am's American insurers coming to negotiate settlements of the British cases as quickly as possible. "We are ready and waiting," he said.
Another Scottish solicitor in the Lockerbie Air Disaster Group, Mr Peter Tyler, said: "Pan Am can now see what they will face if all the cases go to trial. The issue of liability has been disposed of in the American courts and it is time for them to settle."
The terms of the out-of-court settlement agreed with relatives of the 11 Lockerbie residents who died bound both sides to confidentiality. But it was later reported they had received £16 million between them.
Mr Stephen Flanagan and his brother David, who lost their parents and young sister, were said to have received more than £2 million. But others got less than £20,000. Some of them remain bitter about the huge damages awarded in the American courts.
Mr Tom Corrie, 58, of Clovenfords, Borders, who lost his 82-year-old aunt, Miss Jean Murray, said last night: "My sister and I, who were her only relatives, received a total of $45,000, which worked out at about £11,000 each - less 25 per cent in legal fees. Was that the value of a life - less than the transfer fee for a third-rate footballer?"
Mr Corrie said he had consulted a QC to find out if he could re-open his claim. "I was told it was not possible as I had agreed to a full and final settlement," he added.
Miss Pamela Dix, of the UK Families Flight 103 group, whose brother Peter died on the flight, said the settlement did not mean that British families would get "millions and millions of dollars".
"This was a breadwinner case and perhaps a considerable settlement might have been expected," she said. "A lot of the British cases are not breadwinner cases. A large number of the victims were young."
Under an international treaty, airlines are usually liable for a maximum in damages of $75,000 per person for crashes on international flights unless the airline is guilty of wilful misconduct.
The way was cleared for higher compensation claims by a New York Federal jury in 1992. It ruled that Pan Am had been guilty of wilful misconduct because it had repeatedly ignored warnings that its baggage-security system was inadequate.
A bomb hidden in a radio-cassette player and packed in a suitcase, was believed to have been planted aboard the plane by Libyan terrorists. Although Pan Am went bankrupt in 1991, its insurers are liable for damages.
A Lloyd's broker said: "It's the judgment on appeal that everyone will be interested in. You get stupid judgments every day in America."
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