U.S. News

World Trade Center developer loses final 9/11 lawsuit against insurer

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A federal judge on Thursday rejected a lawsuit by the developer of New York’s World Trade Center seeking to take a $14 million cut of a settlement between its insurer and airlines over the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The Tribute in Light is illuminated next to the Statue of Liberty (C), One World Trade Center and the Empire State Building (L) during events marking the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York September 11, 2015. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

The ruling from U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in Manhattan dismissing the developer’s claims against QBE Insurance Group Ltd resolves the last remaining dispute in a sprawling litigation over liability from the deadly attacks.

Scott Katz, a lawyer for QBE, declined to comment. Tyrone Childress, a lawyer for World Trade Center Properties LLC, could not immediately be reached.

World Trade Center Properties and other entities affiliated with developer Larry Silverstein have already collected about $4.1 billion from insurers including QBE, according to court filings.

The insurers, in turn, reached a $1.2 billion settlement in 2010 with aviation companies including American Airlines Group Inc and United Continental Holdings Inc, whose planes were hijacked in the attacks.

World Trade Center Properties sued QBE, arguing that the policy it had bought from the insurer shortly before the attack entitled it to $14 million from the settlement.

It also sued the aviation companies itself, reaching a $95 million settlement last November. Its claim against QBE remained unresolved while that litigation was pending.

Hellerstein said in his opinion on Thursday that the developer’s agreement with QBE did not promise the $14 million payment.

Roughly 3,000 people died in the attacks when hijackers flew planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon outside Washington. A fourth hijacked plane crashed in a Pennsylvania field.

Silverstein opened a rebuilt One World Trade Center in November 2014. It remains New York City’s tallest building.

Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis