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United cleared in Tower 7 fall

Nov. 22, 2012 at 3:41 PM

NEW YORK, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- A federal judge ruled United Airlines is not liable for damages to a company that leased Tower 7 of the World Trade Center, which collapsed Sept. 11, 2001.

Tower 7 fell after debris from the crumbling Tower 1, one of the iconic "Twin Towers," damaged the neighboring building. As lessee, 7 World Trade Co. Properties sought to extend liability to the airline, whose plane had been hijacked by terrorists, the Courthouse News Service reported Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein quoted early 20th-century jurist Benjamin Cardozo, writing on "range of apprehension," in his Wednesday ruling.

"It was not within United's range of apprehension that terrorists would slip through the PWM (Portland International Jetport) security screening checkpoint, fly to Logan (Boston), proceed through another air carrier's security screening, 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," Hellerstein wrote.

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