A U.S. district court has approved the $135 million settlement between law firm Cantor Fitzgerald and American Airlines, stemming from a lawsuit that claimed the airline’s security measures were negligent and allowed the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein in Manhattan ruled that the settlement was “fair and reasonable” and that the $135 million sum accurately represented Cantor Fitzgerald’s property damages as well as compensation for business interruption resulting from the attack. Cantor Fitzgerald had offices in the north tower of the World Trade Center and lost 658 employees in the attack.
Hellerstein said that a case like Cantor’s has “never been encountered before in American court,” according to Bloomberg.
The settlement has been nearly ten years in the making, after Cantor’s original suit filed in November 2010 sought $945 million. According to American Airlines spokesman Kent Powell, Cantor’s lawsuit alleged that American Airlines “should have done what the government could not do: prevent the terrorist attacks.” The two sides formally agreed upon the final $135 million sum on Dec. 13, 2013.
At the time of the settlement announcement, Cantor Fitzgerald Chairman and CEO Howard Lutnick said, “For us, there is no way to describe this compromise with inapt words like ordinary, fair or reasonable. All we can say is that the legal formality of this matter is over.”
An American Airlines spokesman said that the company “vigorously defended itself in litigation brought against it by property owners and their insurers.” It also added that it was not without grief, saying, “American Airlines and the courageous crew members and passengers on Flight 77 and Flight 11 were all victims of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.”
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