Judge rules September 11 lawsuits may proceed

NEW YORK - A US federal judge yesterday refused to dismiss September 11 lawsuits brought against airlines, aircraft makers and World Trade Centre owners by victims' families and those injured, who charge that negligence played a key role in the attacks two years ago.

The ruling by US District Judge Alvin Hellerstein allows claims to proceed against American Airlines, United Airlines, Boeing and other defendants, including the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and World Trade Centre Properties.

The plaintiffs charged that the airlines were negligent in failing to carry out adequate security measures. They argued that the airlines are liable for the attacks because they failed to stop hijackers from entering the cockpits of the four hijacked planes.

The airlines said the attacks were unforeseeable and they had followed safety measures required by the Government. Boeing was sued for what the plaintiffs called negligent plane design.

The plaintiffs accused the owners and operator of the World Trade Centre of negligently designing buildings without adequate evacuation routes.

The ruling is being watched by families who must choose whether to join the litigation or seek payment from a national compensation fund.

The deadline for filing with the fund, which was created to help protect the airline industry from litigation, is December 22.

- REUTERS

Herald Feature: The Sept 11 attacks

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