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Cantor Fitzgerald Seeks OK to Sue Airline

MANHATTAN (CN) - Cantor Fitzgerald, the securities firm that lost 658 employees in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, asked a bankruptcy judge for permission to continue its lawsuit against American Airlines.

Cantor Fitzgerald sued the Fort Worth-based airline in 2004 for damages from the attacks. On Friday it asked U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane to lift the automatic stay on lawsuits against American's parent company, AMR, which filed for Chapter 11 in November.

"The impact of the automatic stay causes significant harm to Cantor Fitzgerald because it further delays Cantor Fitzgerald's ability to recover a portion of the damages it suffered as a result of the events of September 11, 2011 - over ten years ago," Cantor wrote in its request for an order granting relief from the automatic stay.

AMR filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Nov. 29, after being mired in red ink for years. It reported losses in 14 of the past 16 quarters, while many other domestic airlines have returned to profitability.

At the time of the bankruptcy filing, AMR CEO Thomas Horton said the company runs at a substantial cost disadvantage to its larger competitors, which have restructured their costs and debt through Chapter 11.

American was the last legacy carrier to have filed for bankruptcy protection after 9/11.

United and US Airways filed for Chapter 11 protection in 2002, and Delta filed in 2005. American has fallen to third-largest domestic carrier behind Delta and United, which have bought up smaller carriers.

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