AP News

Airlines face trial over 9-11 terror attacks


A federal judge has ordered American Airlines and United Airlines to stand trial in a lawsuit that alleges the airlines' lax security led to the 9-11 terror attacks.

The holder of leases at the World Trade Center sued the airlines over the September 2001 hijackings and attacks that destroyed the twin towers.

U.S. District Court Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein in New York ruled Tuesday against a request by the airlines to end the case because the lease holder had already recovered more from insurance policies than the leases were worth.

World Trade Center Properties LLC sued the airlines in 2008, claiming that their negligence allowed terrorists to board and hijack the planes that were crashed into the towers.

The judge previously ruled that World Trade Center Properties could seek $2.8 billion to recover the value of the 99-year leases that it obtained from the owner of the towers, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, less than two months before the attacks.

The company had asked for $8.4 billion in damages, which it said would cover replacement of the towers.

The airlines declined to comment Thursday on the ruling.

American, a unit of AMR Corp., and United, owned by United Continental Holdings Inc., wanted the lawsuit thrown out because the lease holders already received $4.1 billion from insurance policies.

A law that President George W. Bush signed 11 days after the terror attacks capped liability for American and United at the limits in their insurance.

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The case is 08-CV-03722 in the U.S. district court for the southern district of New York.


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