World Trade Center Developer Can’t Sue Airlines For 9/11, Judge Rules

A World Trade Center developer cannot sue two airlines for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack that destroyed the twin towers in New York.

A judge ruled against developer Larry Silverstein on Thursday, saying that the man’s company has already recovered over $4 billion from its insurers for the incident.

Silverstein attempted to file a lawsuit for the World Trade Center destruction against American Airlines and United Airlines, whose plane crashed into the buildings almost 12 years ago.

US District Judge Alvin Hellerstein made the decision, explaining, “It this case were to go forward, [Silverstein] would not be able to recover anything against the airlines.”

Silverstein’s World Trade Center Properties was seeking damages up to $3.5 billion from the airlines, which he accused in the lawsuit of negligence related to the 9/11 attacks.

But in his ruling, Hellerstein explained that Silverstein’s insurance recoveries mean that he cannot seek damages from the airlines. The judge cited a law in his ruling that bars “windfalls and double recovery on the same loss.”

Rich Williamson, a lawyer representing World Trade Center Properties, has said that the company plans to appeal the decision to the 2nd US Circuit Court of appeals. Later on, Silverstin released a statement, saying:

“We will not rest until we have exhausted every option to assure that the aviation industry’s insurers pay their fair share toward the complete rebuilding of the World Trade Center.”

Hellerstein has presided over several cases related to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that killed thousands. Also among them is a trial that pits financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald, against American Airlines. The firm lost 658 employees in the attacks and is suing the airline over lost business and the destruction of its offices in the World Trade Center.

While he denied the ability of Silverstein’s firm to sue American Airlines and United Airlines, Hellerstein commended the developer on his mission to rebuild One World Trade Center.

[Image by Derek Jensen via Wikimedia Commons]