A judge has ruled that the city cannot limit the amount of damages in the Staten Island Ferry crash. The city wanted to cap the amount of awards at the value of the ferry itself, which is $14.4 million. But U.S. District Judge Edward Korman said, "The city's failure to provide a second pilot or otherwise adopt a reasonable practice that addresses the issue of pilot incapacitation was plainly a substantial factor in causing the disaster." The 2003 crash, which killed 11 people and injured many more, occurred when the ferry slammed into a maintenance pier in Staten Island. The pilot Richard Smith had been tired, was on a variety of medications at the time and lost consciousness at the wheel.
The city plans to appeal again, because this opens them to millions and millions more in damages (the Sun reports that 119 cases "have been settled for a total of $27.6 million" while 65 lawsuits are pending). The victims and their families are begging Mayor Bloomberg not to appeal, especially since the city would be spending so much on legal fees. Debra Canini, whose husband was killed, told reporters, "Compassion went down with the ship."