A Decade Later, Airlines Could Lose Billions In 9/11 Lawsuit

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on September 11 2012 5:49 PM

Damages in a lawsuit filed against American Airlines (PINK:AAMRQ), United Airlines (NYSE:UAL) and other companies in connection to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks could total upward of $2.8 billion, according to the Boston Herald.

The suit, filed by World Trade Center Properties, alleges that the attack could have been thwarted if proper security had been enforced at Logan International Airport, from where two planes that struck the twin towers originated. It targets airlines and Massport, the government agency that manages the airport.

Last week, Federal Judge Alvin Hellerstein ruled that a lawsuit could proceed, and lawyers for the plaintiff filed for a trial date on Monday. A jury will decide the case, which could reveal previously confidential information regarding security flaws. Damages could exceed $5.6 billion if interest on the payout is awarded.

World Trade Center Properties is a subsidiary of Silverstein Properties, which signed a 99-year lease for the site from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the site, just weeks before the attacks.

Silverstein previously sued 10 insurance companies, including Allianz SE (Frankfurt: ALV), Europe's largest insurer and Swiss Reinsurance Co. (Zurich: SREN), the world's second-largest reinsurer, arguing that the attacks constituted two acts of terrorism and seeking $7 billion. Silverstein eventually settled with the companies for a total of $4.55 billion in 2007.

The developer has used the money to pay for its lease with the Port Authority and the rebuilding of the site. It reached an agreement with the Port Authority in 2010 to partially finance Two, Three and Four World Trade Center, but has ceded control of the landmark One World Trade Center back to the agency.

Four World Trade Center, designed by  Fumihiko Maki, is nearly completed and will open in 2013, but Two and Three World Trade Center have halted construction until commercial office tenants are found.

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