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American Airlines To Settle September 11 Lawsuit Filed By Cantor Fitzgerald

Dec 15, 2013 5:00 pm

Skift Take

In Cantor Fitzgerald’s lawsuit against American Airlines over the September 11 terrorist attacks, there are clearly no winners, other than a bunch of lawyers.

— Dennis Schaal

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Financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald, which saw 658 of its 1,000 employees killed in the Sept. 11 attacks, has nearly completed a settlement with American Airlines and insurance carriers, according to documents filed in federal court.

A final signed agreement may be ready by Tuesday, Cantor Fitzgerald attorney John Stoviak told Judge Alvin Hellerstein in a Thursday proceeding.

Stoviak told the judge the amount of the agreement will be made public after court approval, expected next year. Cantor originally sued for more than $1 billion in damages after the 2001 attacks, in which hijacked airliners crashed into the World Trade Center’s twin towers.

Cantor Fitzgerald’s headquarters were on the top floors of the north tower, which was struck by American Airlines Flight 11. The firm accused American of negligence in allowing hijackers to board the plane and crash it into the tower. American responded that it couldn’t have predicted such an attack and that it followed federal security regulations.

An attorney for the Fort Worth, Texas.-based American Airlines, which is part of American Airlines Group Inc., told the judge about 40 insurance carriers worldwide must agree to let him sign the deal. The insurance carriers’ money is in escrow, lawyer Desmond Barry said.

American spokesman Sean Collins said Friday that the airline’s insurers had agreed to settle the claims but the airline didn’t admit liability.

“American Airlines and the courageous crew members and passengers on Flight 77 and Flight 11 were all victims of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001,” Collins said in an emailed statement.

He said American defended itself against claims by property owners and others who believe that “American should have done what the government could not do — prevent the terrorist attacks.”

A spokesman for Cantor Fitzgerald declined to comment.

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