9/11 United Suit Rejected: Judge Says Airline Could Not Foresee World Trade Center Attack

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By IBTimes Staff Reporter | November 22, 2012 9:02 AM EST

A lawsuit claiming United Airlines was responsible for the collapse of 7 World Trade Center, which fell hours after an American Airlines jet collided with the North Tower on Sept. 11, 2001, was rejected by a New York federal judge Wednesday.

In ruling against the suit, U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein said United could not have foreseen the events of 9/11 and the airline was not responsible for ticketing, passenger check-in and boarding of American Airlines Flight 11, the Associated Press reported.

“United had no connection to Flight 11 or its hijackers," Hellerstein said, according to the AP.

Flight 11 was hijacked in part by Mohammed Atta and Abdul Aziz al Omari, who boarded the plane in Boston after flying in on United from Portland, Maine.

Hellerstein added that it was “not within United’s range of apprehension that terrorists would slip through” in Maine, go through another airline’s security in Boston and crash the plane into the World Trade Center, according to the AP.

The American Airlines plane crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, and debris from the crash landed on 7 World Trade Center, which led to the collapse of the building.

The owners of 7 World Trade Center sued United, among other parties, contending the airline was responsible for the hijackers boarding the American Airlines flight and the collapse of the building.

Bud Perrone, a spokesman for 7 World Trade Center owner Silverstein Properties, expressed  disappointment over the ruling. The company has other lawsuits pending against United related to 9/11. “We are determined and look forward to presenting the facts before a jury, which will decide whether the defendants' insurance companies should finally be forced to pay up in order to finish the rebuilding of the World Trade Center," Perrone told the AP.

Hellerstein oversaw a similar lawsuit against utility Con Edison. In that case, decided last year, the judge said Con Ed could not foresee the “strange, improbable, and attenuated chain of events that led to 7 World Trade Center’s collapse.”

The 47-story building was constructed in 1987. It took seven hours for 7 World Trade Center to collapse on Sept. 11.

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