Larry Silverstein, owner of the World Trade Center, is claiming compensation from the airline companies whose planes were hi-jacked and flown into the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001.
In total, he is seeking $3.5 billion from United Airlines, US Airways, and American Airlines. This is in addition to the sum of nearly $5 billion he has already received from his insurance company.
The case is being heard in US District court in Manhattan in front of Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein. He will have to decide whether there is any legal basis for World Trade Center Properties to file a lawsuit against the airlines.
Lawyers acting for Silverstein are arguing that the fact that the company has already received $5.0 billion from insurance companies does not prevent them from pursuing another claim.
The judge is expected to make a bench ruling after hearing the evidence and witnesses from both sides.
Attorney Roger Podesta, acting for the airlines, said the $3.5 billion would amount to double compensation.
Richard Williamson, representing World Trade Center Properties, said that the company had incurred losses of around $7.2 as a result of the destruction of the three buildings.
The company was now finishing construction of the new One World Trade Center, which is the tallest building in the western hemisphere, and cost an estimated $3.9billion. It is due to open in early 2014.
The first witness was Michael S. Beach, a claims expert acting for the airlines, who explained, at great length, how the loss was calculated.
Both sides have accused the other of incorrectly estimating the true value of the damage suffered.
Judge Hellerstein has been involved in a number of other cases arising from the tragedy of 9/11. Indeed, next year he is due to preside over a trial involving a claim by financial services company, Cantor Fitzgerald, against American Airlines.
This company is suing for the destruction of its offices and loss of business. It lost 658 of its workers in the disaster.