McGovern honored by National Center for Victims of Crime

September 20, 2010Duke Law News

Professor Francis McGovern will be honored by the National Center for Victims of Crime with a 2010 Leadership Award on Sept. 28. The award will be presented at a reception at Bryant Park Grill in New York City.

Based in Washington, D.C., the National Center for Victims of Crime is the nation's leading resource and advocacy organization dedicated to serving individuals, families, and communities harmed by crime. Its mission, as stated on its website “is to forge a national commitment to help victims of crime rebuild their lives.”

McGovern is being honored as a leader who has “fought tirelessly on behalf of victims of financial crime,” according to a release issued by the organization. As a court-appointed special master or neutral expert, “his creative solutions for significant mass claim litigation, wide-ranging financial crimes and the tragic Station Nightclub fire litigation have helped numerous victims receive justice more quickly than was previously possible.”

A pioneer in the field of alternative dispute resolution, McGovern has established new roles for court-appointment special masters. As settlement master, he develops innovative ways to achieve settlements; as an implementation master, he oversees the implementation of decrees; and as a distribution master, he designs and implements the distribution of funds. Judges around the country have appointed him special master in almost 100 cases.

Among the many settlements he has facilitated, McGovern has: designed the distribution of the $2.3 billion trust established to compensate 100,000 claimants who had sued the maker of an intrauterine device; constructed a methodology to resolve 2.4 million claims — with over $20 billion distributed — on behalf of the United National Compensation Commission; created trust distribution plans for most of the asbestos bankruptcies totaling more than $20 billion; mediated the silicone gel breast implant settlements and trust funds; served as an independent distribution consultant to numerous Fair Funds for the Securities and Exchange Commission; designed and implemented distributions for other securities settlements; and overseen the revision of other financial settlement distribution processes.

Working pro bono, McGovern devised a point system for the distribution of a $176 million pool of settlement funds among 310 plaintiffs in the litigation stemming from 2003 fire at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, R.I., which killed 100 people and left 200 injured. All plaintiffs agreed to his plan. Read more here.

McGovern also is working pro bono as reporter for the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation Study Project. He is interviewing more than 100 lawyers to obtain feedback from the bar concerning the operation of the panel and of transferee judges. Among the most prominent recent examples of multidistrict litigation are claims stemming from the BP oil spill.
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