American Airlines to Pay Cantor Fitzgerald $135 Million to Settle Sept. 11 Claims

     (CN) - American Airlines and its insurers will pay $135 million to settle a lawsuit filed by Wall Street firm Cantor Fitzgerald in 2004 seeking compensation for losses it sustained in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
     Cantor Fitzgerald was headquartered near the top of the World Trade Center's north tower when American Airlines Flight 11 struck the building the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Six hundred and fifty eight of its employees were killed when the tower collapsed.
     The settlement was reached Friday, but attorneys didn't reveal the dollar amount until today, when they gathered a the federal courthouse in Manhattan for a status conference.
     Afterward, Cantor Fitzgerald CEO Howard Lutnick released a statement in which he said, "For the insurance companies, this was just another case, just another settlement, but not for us."
     "We could never, and will never, consider it ordinary. For us, there is no way to describe this compromise with inapt words like ordinary, fair or reasonable," Lutnick continued. "All we can say is that the legal formality of this mater is over."
     The New York Daily News reported that in approving the settlement today, U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein said he hope the conclusion of the litigation would bring some sense of closure to those impacted by the tragedy.
     "A business loss is repaired by money but the lives that were lost are irreparable, and being irreparable, there are no words that can describe that loss," Hellerstein said.
     Cantor Fitzgerald sued American Airlines in 2004, and initially sought damages in excess of $1 billion. But Hellerstein held that New York law does not allow an employer to sue for the wrongful deaths of its employees. Such suits, he said, may only be brought by the victims' heirs and estates.