Judge blocks Sept. 11 claims against airlines - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Judge blocks Sept. 11 claims against airlines

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An image of the collapse of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, taken by the NYPD's Aviation Unit. An image of the collapse of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, taken by the NYPD's Aviation Unit.
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    Responding to criticism, National September 11 Memorial Museum officials say victims' families will be consulted regarding merchandise on sale in its gift shop. Memorial Foundation President Joe Daniels says the museum will enlist the help of 9/11 family members who sit on the foundation's board in vetting the products.
  • Memorial remains free

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    Sept. 11 Museum president defends $24 admission fee

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NEW YORK (AP) -

The owners of the World Trade Center cannot demand billions of dollars more in insurance money for the Sept. 11 attacks, a federal judge decided Thursday.

Judge Alvin Hellerstein ruled after listening to witnesses for the trade center owners and for the airlines linked to the planes that were hijacked in the attacks. The trial was arranged to decide whether the owners of the trade center complex can collect more than the nearly $5 billion they've already received toward reconstruction.

Lawyers for the airlines argued that the claims made against them duplicate claims that have already been paid by insurance companies.

But Developer Larry Silverstein and World Trade Center Properties insisted through their lawyers that the aviation companies owed at least $3.5 billion for letting hijackers board planes that destroyed three skyscrapers on Sept. 11, 2001: the prominent twin towers, and 7 World Trade Center, a 47-story building that caught fire after debris from one of the jet crashes pierced its facade. It collapsed hours later.

Hellerstein had said before the trial began Monday that he would announce his ruling at its conclusion. There was no jury.

Attorney Roger Podesta, speaking for companies including United Airlines Inc., US Airways Inc., American Airlines Inc. and its parent company, AMR Corp., had argued that making aviation companies pay would amount to double compensation.

He said an $8.5 billion total recovery would be more than 2 1/2 times the fair value of the buildings that fell.

But attorney Richard Williamson, representing World Trade Center Properties, said damages from the attacks had totaled at least $7.2 billion.

The trade center owners say it has cost more than $7 billion to replace the twin towers and more than $1 billion to replace the third trade center building that fell.

In court papers, both sides had accused the other of unfairly characterizing their claims.

The developers' lawyers said they would appeal.

  • Manhattan NewsManhattan NewsMore>>

  • Smoking rates on the rise in New York City

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    Tuesday, September 16 2014 7:03 AM EDT2014-09-16 11:03:52 GMT
    For the first time in years, more than 1 million New Yorkers are smoking, marking a disturbing rise of tobacco use in the city that pioneered a number of anti-smoking initiatives that were emulated nationally.  Sixteen percent of adult New Yorkers smoked in 2013, up from 14 percent in 2010, which was the city's lowest recorded rate, according to the findings released by New York City's Department of Health.
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    Report: health risks at some nail salons

    Monday, September 15 2014 10:28 PM EDT2014-09-16 02:28:27 GMT
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    One of the most surprising findings in a report from the New York City public advocate is that city officials have virtually no authority over how nail salons are run. The city can't enforce standards like they do with restaurants, so it's clearly a case of beauty buyer beware. We get our nails done without thinking too much about it.
  • Etan Patz murder confession played in court

    Etan Patz murder confession played in court

    Monday, September 15 2014 6:43 PM EDT2014-09-15 22:43:37 GMT
    A judge allowed a confession tape to be played in court in connection with the case of Etan Patz, who vanished in 1979. On the tape, Pedro Hernandez described how he killed Patz. But his lawyers say Hernandez falsely confessed and doesn't understand his rights. Before Hernandez's videotaped confession was played, Patz's mother quickly left the courtroom unable to watch the video.
    A judge allowed a confession tape to be played in court in connection with the case of Etan Patz, who vanished in 1979. On the tape, Pedro Hernandez described how he killed Patz. But his lawyers say Hernandez falsely confessed and doesn't understand his rights. Before Hernandez's videotaped confession was played, Patz's mother quickly left the courtroom unable to watch the video.
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