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Second WTC lawsuit filed against bin Laden

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The family of a business analyst killed in the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center has filed a lawsuit blaming Osama bin Laden and others for the analyst's death.

It is the second lawsuit against bin Laden, his Islamic militant group al Qaeda, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and the Taliban. Both suits seek unspecified damages for wrongful death and other claims.

The latest suit was filed November 15 by the estate of George Eric Smith, 38, who was a business analyst with SunGard Data Systems Inc.

Smith, a native of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, was visiting clients in the South Tower at the time of the attack. He was not married but is survived by a large family. The lawsuit was filed by Smith's brother, who serves as his estate manager.

The first suit was filed in mid-October by an anonymous widow of a man who worked in the World Trade Center.

Both were filed in federal court in the Southern District of New York by the Philadelphia-based law firm of Beasley, Casey and Erbstein.

A partner at the firm, Jim Beasley, said the cases theoretically could be joined as a class action but were not filed that way for the sake of "judicial efficiency."

He said it is unknown whether more families might take legal action. His firm has not advertised or recruited family members, he said.

"I wouldn't do it if I didn't think it was realistic," Beasley said in response to a question of whether the families have a good chance of collecting money.

Beasley said the plaintiffs' motives are probably not purely financial. The suits give them a sense of control and "an opportunity to be part of the response" to terrorism, he said.

The next step is to serve the documents to the defendants, which can be done by giving them to a representative of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan or the Taliban.

Beasley also is petitioning the court to allow his firm to serve the documents in an unconventional way -- broadcasting through the media.



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