Transport Airlines

American Airlines and United to face multi-billion dollar lawsuit claiming 9/11 negligence

Sep 05, 2012 10:42 am

Skift Take

Those who advocate for the return of private airport security should take note: At the core of the case is culpability of the airline-led airport security that existed prior to the formation of the TSA.

— Jason Clampet

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A U.S. judge ruled that AMR Corp’sAmerican Airlines and United Continental Holdings Inc must face trial over claims relating to the September 11 attacks that destroyed the landmark towers of the World Trade Center in New York almost 11 years ago, court documents showed.

In July 2001, two months before the attacks, World Trade Center Properties LLC (WTCP) bought 99-year leases to four World Trade Center buildings from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Inc for $2.805 billion.

In its lawsuit against United Airlines and American Airlines, WTCP said that had it not been for the airlines’ negligence, “the terrorists could not have boarded and hijacked the aircraft and flown them into the twin towers,” on September 11, 2001, according a New York court filing.

The company claimed damages of $8.4 billion from the airlines, the estimated cost of replacing the towers.

Judge Alvin Hellerstein limited the value of WTCP’s destroyed property to $2.805 billion, the price WTCP paid for the leases.

The defendants denied they were negligent, and said the case should not go to trial because WTCP has recovered $4.091 billion from insurance companies.

Judge Hellerstein said at this stage he could not reasonably determine the defendants’ claim that insurance payments received by WTCP covered the damages the company is seeking from them.

“On this record, before trial, I am not able to make such findings,” Judge Hellerstein said in a court filing.

The case is in re September 11 litigation, Case No. 21-MC-101, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York.

Editing by Daniel Magnowski.

The full ruling, issued today:

Download (PDF, 305KB)

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