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Law Professor and Noted Film Director to Discuss 9/11 Fund To Commemorate National Mediation Week at UNH

Release Date:
10/18/2011 11:08 AM
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University of New Haven: Marilyn Berger, 500 px Marilyn Berger

Oct. 14, 2011

Marilyn Berger, the executive producer, writer and co-director of the film “Out of the Ashes: 9/11-Searching for Justice,” will screen and discuss the film at the University of New Haven in Dodds Hall Auditorium at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 20.

The event is sponsored by the UNH Center for Dispute Resolution in coordination with the Connecticut Bar Association Alternative Dispute Resolution Section.

Berger is also a professor and director of trial advocacy at Seattle University School of Law and director of the Films for Justice Institute, which she established in 1995. The institute is designed to further legal education by funding films that examine issues about the civil and social justice systems as well as law and society.

“Out of the Ashes” presents the story of seven families who lost relatives in the 9/11 terrorist attacks and their pursuit of justice from the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.  The fund, established by the federal government 11 days after the attacks, compensated the families of 9/11victims.  It remains the largest victims’ public entitlement program in U.S. history.

The Berger talk and the film showing commemorate national Mediation Week, Oct. 16-22, designated by the American Bar Association to inform the public about the benefits of mediation, said Donna Morris, associate professor and director of the UNH legal studies program and director of the UNH Center for Dispute Resolution. 

The theme of this year’s Mediation Week is “Civility and Civil Public Discourse.  “The speaker and the film both will emphasize how important mediation can be to resolve conflicts,” said Morris.  “Resolving disputes through mediation is quicker and less expensive than taking matters to court.  But more importantly, mediation provides the opportunity for the people involved to have a real voice in the outcome and to communicate what is important to them in a forum where others will truly listen.”

“Out of the Ashes” also raises questions such as whether or not the 9/11 victims fund undermined the legal system or offered the victims a way to avoid the cost, complexity and slow pace of a lawsuit and whether similar processes should be available to those injured in other tragedies such as Katrina and the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City.

Berger also directed the three-film series “Lessons from Woburn,” a documentary about the case Anderson v. W.R. Grace, which inspired the book and film “A Civil Action.”

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