A New York federal judge opened testimony this week to determine if the World Trade Center building owners could go after damages amounting to billions from aviation companies tied to the planes that destroyed the buildings.
U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein will announce his decision after hearing witness testimony over the next few days. World Trade Center Properties already has received almost $5 billion in insurance settlements, according to The Associated Press.
The company is asking for $3.5 billion from the airlines, which include United Airlines Inc., US Airways Inc., and American Airlines Inc.
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The airlines’ attorneys argued that WTC Properties is asking for double compensation since it already received insurance monies, the AP said.
The lawsuit alleges that the airlines and aviation-related companies were negligent to let terrorists on board and then to take over the planes that destroyed the World Trade Center towers, the Boston Herald said
A retired FAA special agent told the Herald that it was “outrageous” that such 9/11 lawsuits are continuing more than a decade after the terrorist attack.
“For Massport (Massachusetts Port Authority) and the airlines to not own up to their responsibilities is absurd,” said Brian Sullivan, whom the newspapers said identified security issues at Logan International Airport before the attacks, in the Herald interview.
WTC Properties said it has cost more than $8 billion to replace the three buildings, although the defendants say the new buildings are “more modern and fancy” than the buildings that were destroyed, the Herald reported.
Should the judge decide WTC Properties can get additional money, a liability trial would determine the case, the Herald said.
Hellerstein has heard numerous 9/11 cases. In January, he will hear a trial of Cantor Fitzgerald, a company in the WTC that lost 658 employees in the attack, against American Airlines, Reuters reported
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