American Airlines Agrees to Pay Cantor Fitzgerald for 9/11 Attack Business Losses without Admitting Liability

Monday, December 16, 2013
Sandra Grazioso lost her two sons, Canto Fitzgerald employees John and Tim, on September 11, 2001 (photo: Julio Cortez, AP)

Wall Street finance firm Cantor Fitzgerald reached a settlement last week of its 2004 lawsuit against American Airlines over Cantor’s business losses arising from the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center. Cantor lost 658 of its 960 New York employees when terrorists flew an American Airlines jet into the center’s north tower, where its headquarters was located. Attorneys announced the agreement Thursday in Federal District Court in Manhattan, where the case was set for trial next month before Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein.

 

Although Cantor initially sued for damages of $945 million, in 2011 Judge Hellerstein ruled out claims for employee deaths and limited Cantor to business-related damages, estimated at about $400-$500 million. Hellerstein has overseen more than 90 lawsuits brought by victims and their families, claims by more than 10,000 ground zero workers that respiratory and other illnesses resulted from their rescue and cleanup work, and business-related lawsuits like Cantor’s.

 

Cantor’s complaint alleged that American was negligent in failing to prevent the hijacking from occurring, contending the airline owed a duty of “the highest possible degree of care” to prevent a hijacking.

 

American denied that all along, arguing that it had had no way to foresee the attack, and that its adherence to federal aviation security regulations, as well as its own policies, showed that it was not negligent. “American has vigorously defended itself in litigation brought against it by property owners and their insurers who allege that American should have done what the government could not do: prevent the terrorist attacks,” wrote spokesman Kent Powell. “Our insurers have agreed to settle the claims by Cantor Fitzgerald.”

 

Judge Hellerstein scheduled a hearing for January 13 to consider approving the settlement.

-Matt Bewig

 

To Learn More:

Cantor Fitzgerald to Settle 9/11 Lawsuit Against American Airlines (by Benjamin Weiser, New York Times)

Cantor Fitzgerald Settles 9/11 Case Against American (by Erik Larson, Bloomberg)

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