Biden Bill Granting Nationwide Subpoena Power to 9/11 Victims Heads to the President
Biden Legislation Ensures Fairness, Full Information for September 11th Cases
Today, the House of Representatives passed U.S. Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr.'s (D-DE) Procedural Fairness for September 11th Victims Act (H.R. 3921, S. 2106). Earlier this month, the Senate unanimously passed Sen. Biden's legislation, which ensures that those 9/11 victims and their families who opt out of receiving compensation through the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund and bring civil suits instead, have access to all the information relevant to the case. The bill now heads to the White House for the President to sign into law.
Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, Congress mandated that victims and their families who opt out of the 9/11 Victims Compensation, and seek legal redress instead, can only do so in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, that means parties can only subpoena testimony and documents within 100 miles of that District. As such, many 9/11 victims and their families are legally barred from securing much-needed documents and testimony for their cases. Sen. Biden's legislation fixes that, giving nation-wide subpoena power to all parties involved - victims, their families and the defendants - when litigating 9/11 claims.
"The 9/11 attacks affected all of us, from the east coast to the west coast," said Sen. Biden. "There's no reason why victims and their families should be prevented from securing documents and witnesses, just because they happen to be more than 100 miles outside the Southern District of New York. This legislation provides a much-needed fix and allows subpoenas to be served anywhere in the country, ensuring that all the parties involved can get all the information necessary to try these cases fully and fairly. I'm pleased to hear the House passed this critical and timely legislation today, and I hope the President quickly signs this legislation into law."
In the Senate, Sen. Biden's amendment had seven cosponsors: Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Mel Martinez (R-FL) and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA). Representative Timothy Bishop (D-NY) introduced the House version of the legislation.