Developer can't recover World Trade Center damages from airlines

Thu Jul 18, 2013 4:51pm EDT
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By Bernard Vaughan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Developer Larry Silverstein cannot recover billions of dollars from airlines over the September 11, 2011, destruction of the World Trade Center in New York because insurers have already compensated his company, a federal judge ruled on Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein said Silverstein's company has recovered more than $4 billion from its insurers.

Silverstein, 82, had sought to pursue damages at a trial from United Airlines and American Airlines, whose planes crashed into the World Trade Center.

"If this case were to go forward," Hellerstein said to a packed courtroom, Silverstein "would not be able to recover anything against the airlines."

Silverstein's World Trade Center Properties was seeking to recover as much as $3.5 billion from the airlines, including United Airlines, now United Continental Holdings Inc, and American Airlines and its parent, AMR Corp, which he accused of negligence in the attacks.

"We did not believe that the plaintiff could be permitted any further compensation and we are pleased the judge ruled in our favor," Christen David, a spokeswoman for United, said after the ruling.

We are gratified by the judge's decision," said American Airlines spokesman Mike Trevino.

Hellerstein's ruling concluded a four-day trial in federal court in New York that tasked him with deciding, without a jury, if Silverstein's insurance recoveries precluded him from seeking damages from the airlines.   Continued...

World Trade Center developer Larry Silverstein speaks at an event to update the public on the pace of development at the site in New York September 7, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson