W.Va. Woman Disappointed with USS Cole Damages

The mother of a W. Va. sailor killed in the 2001 terrorist attack on the USS Cole says she is disappointed with a federal judge’s decision to limit damages in a lawsuit filed by sailors’ families against Sudan.

Saundra Flanagan’s son, Kevin Shawn Rux, was among 17 sailors killed in the attack. The Bridgeport resident did not seek money in the lawsuit. But she said Wednesday that Congress should change the Death on the High Seas Act, which allows compensation for economic losses but not for pain and suffering.

U.S. District Judge Robert G. Doumar in Norfolk, Va., applied the act when he ordered Sudan on Wednesday to pay nearly $8 million to the families of the sailors. The families had sought $105 million.

Flanagan said Sudan should be forced to pay more “because of the impact it has had on 17 families, plus the other sailors who were aboard the ship too. The survivors.”

The families had accused Sudan’s government of providing support, including money and training, that allowed al-Qaida to attack the destroyer while it was in the harbor of Aden, Yemen, on Oct. 12, 2000. Doumar had ruled in March that the African country was liable for the attack.

Flanagan said she expects the families to discuss the issue with Congress.

“Believe me, the families are determined,” she said. “Believe me, they will be doing that.”

Information from: The Charleston Gazette,