American, United To Face Trial Over 9/11

September 5, 2012

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A US judge ruled that American and United airlines must face trial over claims relating to the September 11 attacks that destroyed the landmark towers of the World Trade Centre in New York almost 11 years ago, court documents showed.

In July 2001, two months before the attacks, World Trade Centre Properties (WCTP) bought 99-year leases to four World Trade Centre buildings from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for USD$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 USD$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 USD$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 USD$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.

(Reuters)