US District Court Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein, the same judge who has presided over much of the litigation stemming from the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, said he will decide after hearing witnesses whether owners of the World Trade Center will have the right to try and recover damages from airline companies to the tune of billions of dollars.
The hearing does not involve a jury and is most likely going to last three days. The judge will listen to arguments from World Trade Center Properties and its affiliates, the owners of the WTC, saying that airlines acted negligently, allowing terrorists to enter airplanes and overcome crew which resulted in billions of dollars in damage to their property.
However, Hellerstein has already stated that the most the owners of the WTC could recover from aviation defendants was $3.5 billion. The owners already received $4.9 billion in insurance payments for their loss. The owners maintain that they have already spent $7 billion to replace the twin towers, and another $1 billion to rebuild one other building that collapsed.
The airline defendants counter that not only have the owners been paid for their loss already by insurance companies, but that the new buildings which are replacing the old ones are much more costly due to being more modern and fancy than the old buildings.
The lawyers stated that the WTC owners “built a new, state-of-the-art ‘green’ building that bears little resemblance to the office building that collapsed as a result of the September 11 terrorist attacks”.