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New York transit agency granted immunity

The Port Authority of New Jersey may not have to pay pending claims from 1993 parking garage bombing

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was granted immunity Thursday by the New York Court of Appeals from claims that it failed to provide sufficient security measures to prevent the 1993 parking garage bombing at the World Trade Center.

The court ruled 4-3, reversing rulings by lower courts and deciding that the transit agency is allowed government immunity, according to an AP report. The three dissenting justices concluded that the Port Authority acted as a landlord – a non-governmental role – but the other four justices found otherwise.

“We are pleased that the Court has accepted the Port Authority’s longstanding position on this matter recognizing its continuing governmental immunity. Today’s ruling brings us closer to a final resolution of this emotional process,” the Port Authority told the Wall Street Journal Law Blog.

Though the decision will not affect settled claims, the Port Authority may not have to pay outstanding claims regarding personal injury, including effects from smoke inhalation. Since the bombing, about 200 claims have been filed, with most privately settled. Of the remaining claims, brokerage firm Cantor Fitzgerald is still pursuing damages for business interruption when its trade center offices were vacated for a month after the attack.

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