A U.S. federal judge has approved a settlement worth $135-million (U.S.) between Cantor Fitzgerald LP and American Airlines and its insurance companies over business and property losses the U.S. brokerage sustained in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
Cantor Fitzgerald sued the airline in 2004, accusing it of negligence for failing to stop the hijack of Flight 11, which was flown into the North Tower and killed 658 Cantor Fitzgerald employees, among others.
"The judge said that he found the settlement fair and reasonable," said Robert Hubbell, a spokesman for Cantor Fitzgerald. "He was actually laudatory of both sides for having spent considerable time and effort along with the court to come to what he called a fair settlement."
American Airlines said in a statement it defended itself vigorously against a lawsuit that claimed it should have done what the even U.S. government could not – prevent the terrorist attack.
"American Airlines and the courageous crew members and passengers on Flight 77 and Flight 11 were all victims of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001," the airline said. "Our insurers have agreed to settle the claims by Cantor Fitzgerald. Although this settlement ends these particular legal disputes, American will forever honour the memory of the true victims and selfless heroes of 9/11."
Herbert Ouida, whose son Todd Ouida was a foreign currency option trader for Cantor Fitzgerald on the 105th floor of the North Tower and was killed, said the lawsuit was "more than deserved. It was justified."
"We had to choose way back then, whether we would want to sue or accept under the special legislation that congress passed. Most families decided not to sue ... we wanted it to be over, and accepted the government's program that provided compensation to the families," said Mr. Ouida.
"Cantor Fitzgerald went beyond and decided to sue the airlines."
"I was on the 77th floor myself and walked out of the building in about an hour, and I thought my son was behind me, but he wasn't," said Mr. Ouida, who was executive vice-president of the World Trade Centers Association on the 77th floor. "My son worked for Cantor and I feel they were very kind to us, very helpful and supportive in every way possible," by providing families health insurance, for example.
Cantor suffered "terrible destruction of offices, of all the equipment. They had tremendous losses," he said. "It's a miracle that the company did not go under, and that it has thrived."