Epstein estate says ‘vast majority’ of suing victims will settle
The estate of accused sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who killed himself in August, said it expects the “vast majority” of his victims who have filed lawsuits to participate in a compensation fund.
Executors of the estate told a federal judge in Manhattan on Friday that five plaintiffs have already agreed to put their lawsuits on hold pending their participation in the program. Discussions between lawyers and the fund’s administrator have been “positive and productive,” they said.
The fund established last year by dispute-resolution expert Kenneth Feinberg will allow victims to be paid confidentially and retain their rights to sue if they are not satisfied with settlement offers. There have been 17 lawsuits filed against in the estate in New York.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Freeman in November urged the parties to talk and report back to her on the status of negotiations. Lawyers for some of the women told Freeman they had no input in the selection of the administrator and rejected suggestions by the estate their suits be put on hold as the process moves forward.
Bradley Edwards, a lawyer for some of the victims, told Freeman in a letter on Friday that while he agreed that talks have been productive, “it remains important to every aspect of the process” that cases not be put on hold.
“Our clients have varying views of the process, and while each will maintain an open mind about potential alternative resolution, those who have filed lawsuits do not wish to delay the expeditious litigation of their claims,” he said.
Feinberg’s firm specializes in dispute resolution, most famously leading the victim compensation fund following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The firm is currently leading settlement talks over thousands of suits claiming Bayer AG’s Roundup weed killer causes cancer.
Epstein died alone in his Manhattan jail cell, about five weeks after he was arrested on charges of trafficking underage girls for sex. While the city’s chief medical examiner ruled that he hanged himself, his death has been the subject of mass speculation as to how such a high-profile prisoner could be able to harm himself in a highly secure prison.