Owner of World Trade Center seeks damages from airlines

July 16, 2013 at 5:14 PM

NEW YORK, July 16 (UPI) -- A federal judge in New York is hearing evidence on whether the owner of the World Trade Center can sue the owners of the planes that hit the Twin Towers.

Larry Silverstein has sued United Continental Holdings Inc., the successor company to United Airlines, American Airlines and AMR Corp., American's parent company, Insurance Journal reported. U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein began a quick trial Monday and has scheduled closing arguments for Wednesday.

The judge has said he will rule as soon as the trial is over.

Silverstein, who could get as much as $3.5 billion from the airlines if Hellerstein rules in his favor, has already received billions of dollars in insurance payments for the loss of the Twin Towers in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States. He continues to pay rent on the 99-year lease for the site.

Roger Podesta, a lawyer for the airlines, said Monday in his opening statement that Silverstein has been paid already, that the damages he is seeking are for "the same category of loss" for which he has already been reimbursed.

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