A federal judge ruled that United Airlines is not responsible for suspected security lapses at the Portland International Jetport in Maine, which allowed 2 hijackers to ultimately board a flight [American Flight 11] that crashed in to one of the World Trade Center towers on September 11th, 2001.
The claims brought against United by Larry Silverstein, the leaseholder of the World Trade Center property, will be dismissed.
‘The decision concerned the destruction of 7 World Trade Center, which collapsed hours after being pierced by debris from the crash of AMR Corp’s American Airlines Flight 11 into 1 World Trade Center.
Two of the hijackers on Flight 11, Mohammed Atta and Abdul Aziz al Omari, had begun their trip to New York at the Portland International Jetport. There, they boarded a flight by US Airways carrier Colgan Air to Boston’s Logan Airport, from where they connected onto the American plane.
Silverstein argued that because United was among the carriers that operated Portland’s only security checkpoint, it was legally responsible for the screening of all passengers, and had missed a “clear chance” to prevent the hijacking.
The judge, however, found that Chicago-based United owed no duty of care to Silverstein’s 7 World Trade Co LP, which had leased Tower 7.’
“It was not within United’s range of apprehension that terrorists would slip through the (Portland) security screening checkpoint, fly to Logan, proceed through another air carrier’s security screening and board that air carrier’s flight, hijack the flight and crash it into 1 World Trade Center, let alone that 1 World Trade Center would therefore collapse and cause Tower 7 to collapse,” he wrote.’
The federal judge who made the ruling, U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein, has presided over almost all U.S. litigation over the Sept. 11 attacks.
The case is World Trade Center Properties LLC et al v. American Airlines Inc et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 08-03722.
Photo: Florian Kondziela (planepictures.net)