| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Jan 13 A federal judge on Monday
approved a $135 million settlement between American Airlines
Group Inc and Cantor Fitzgerald over business and
property losses suffered by the financial services company in
the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, in which 658 of
Cantor's employees were killed.
U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein said the agreement,
which averts a trial that had been scheduled to begin this
month, was "fair and reasonable" at a brief court hearing.
Under the settlement, American's insurers will pay Cantor
$135 million, minus approximately $2.5 million from two insurers
that are insolvent and cannot cover their share.
The settlement ends one of the last remaining pieces of
litigation stemming from the 2001 attacks, which killed nearly
Cantor lost almost two-thirds of its 1,000 New York
employees after American Airlines Flight 11 struck the north
tower of the World Trade Center.
In the lawsuit, originally filed in 2004, Cantor accused
American Airlines of negligence for failing to prevent hijackers
from boarding the flight at Logan International Airport in
Boston. At one point, the company had sought more than $1
billion in damages, but the sum was later reduced to between
$464 million and $484 million.
American Airlines had said in defending the case that it had
no way to foresee the attacks.
The terms of the settlement were first disclosed in
December. In a statement at that time, Cantor's chief executive
officer, 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."
American Airlines said in a statement that it had defended
itself in litigation brought by property owners "who allege that
American should have done what the government could not do -
prevent the terrorist attacks." It said it would "forever honor
the memory" of the victims and heroes of Sept. 11.
The cases are Cantor Fitzgerald & Co et al v. American
Airlines Inc et al, U.S. District Court for the Southern
District of New York, No. 04-07318; and In re: Sept. 11 Property
Damages and Business Loss Litigation in the same court, No.