Bloomberg Businessweek
By Patricia Hurtado on September 05, 2012

AMR Corp.’s (AAMRQ) American Airlines and United Continental Holdings Inc. (UAL) lost a bid to avoid a federal trial over negligence claims tied to the hijacking of jetliners used in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that killed about 3,000 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

World Trade Center Properties LLC, which owned the twin skyscrapers in lower Manhattan destroyed in the attacks, sued the airlines in 2008 alleging negligence against the carriers for allowing terrorists to board and hijack the planes that were flown into the buildings. U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in Manhattan yesterday said a trial is required.

On the day of the attacks, two planes were hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center. American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Minutes later, United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower.

After the attacks, the owners sued insurers, eventually settling for $4.09 billion, the judge said. World Trade Center Properties sued the airlines seeking $8.4 billion, or the estimated cost of replacing the two towers as well as claims of negligence, the judge said in yesterday’s ruling. Hellerstein said he previously rejected the airlines’ bid for summary judgment, or a ruling before trial.

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