WTC Properties loses bid to block “act of war” 9/11 defense

May 21, 2013 10:00AM

World Trade Center Properties, an affiliate of Silverstein Properties, lost its bid to prevent American Airlines from using “act of war” as a defense to its alleged negligence in the September 11, 2001 attacks, Bloomberg News reported.

U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein in Manhattan, in a May 17 ruling, denied the bid by the leaseholder of the twin 110-story towers. The buildings collapsed after hijackers flew an American Airlines jet into one and a United Airlines jet into the other, causing the loss of around 3,000 lives.

In a February filing, the Silverstein affiliate had argued that the airlines promised Congress and the public that they wouldn’t raise an “act of war” defense to avoid paying claims. But Hellerstein said that whether the defense held merit would be determined at trial, and “therefore it is premature to decide this issue now.”

“There is no shortcut” for WTC Properties, American Airlines’ lawyers said in a March 5 court filing. “It is entitled to payment from American’s insurance proceeds if and only if it prevails on the merits of its litigation against American,” including overcoming the act-of-war defense. [Bloomberg News]  – Hiten Samtani