NEW YORK - A U.S. judge has ruled that American Airlines and United Airlines must face a federal trial over claims relating to the terrorist attacks that destroyed the the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001, Reuters reports.
In its lawsuit against the two airlines, World Trade Center Properties (WTCP) -- which owned Manhattan’s trademark towers -- 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," according to a New York court filing.
After the attacks, the World Trade Center owners sued insurers, eventually settling for $4.09 billion, the judge said. WTCP sued American Airlines and United Airlines seeking $8.4 billion, or the estimated cost of replacing the two towers. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in Manhattan said he previously rejected the airlines’ bid for summary judgment, or a ruling before trial, Bloomberg reports.
Hellerstein also limited the owners’ recovery and determined its destroyed lease on the day of the terrorist attacks to be worth $2.805 billion -- the price the World Trade Center Properties agreed to pay the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for the lease a few months before the 2001 attacks, he said.
The defendants denied they were negligent, and said the case should not go to trial because WTCP has already recovered $4.09 billion from insurance companies.