Sept. 11 Parties Still in Court, Eleven Years In

     MANHATTAN (CN) – Airlines whose planes were hijacked on Sept. 11, 2001, must go to trial if they want to reduce their insurance liabilities, a federal judge ruled.
     World Trade Center Properties and its affiliates had sued the airlines to recover on the $2.805 billion that they paid Port Authority for 99-year leases in Towers One, Two, Four and Five in July 2001.
     “Two months later, the terrorist air crashes of September 11 caused the Twin Towers (Towers One and Two) to become raging infernos and collapse,” U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein wrote. “And their collapse caused Towers Four and Five (and Tower Seven) to collapse.”
     In its civil lawsuit, World Trade Center Properties claimed that the “the terrorists could not have boarded and hijacked the aircraft” without negligence from United Airlines, American Airlines and others.
     The airlines contest this point and also claim that the issue is moot because World Trade Center Properties already has recovered more than $4 billion from insurers.
     But the developer claims that money represents roughly half the estimated cost of replacing the towers and lost revenue from potential leases.
     On Aug. 31, Judge Hellerstein ruled that he could not resolve the case without a jury.
     “In order to make such a finding, I would have to find, to a ‘reasonable certainty,’ that the categories of insurance payments received by WTCP ‘correspond’ to the categories of potential damages WTCP could recover in its lawsuit against the aviation defendants,” his order states. “On this record, before trial, I am not able to make such findings.”
     The decision was publicly filed on Sept. 4.

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