American Airlines and a number of other aviation companies that faced lawsuits resulting from the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon filed motions to dismiss many of the lawsuits.
United Airlines also supports the motion to dismiss the complaints of ground victims that is being filed by the aviation defendants today. As a result of United`s commencement of its bankruptcy case and the resultant automatic stay of all actions against United as mandated by Section 362 of the Bankruptcy Code, United cannot at this time be a party to the aviation defendants` motion to dismiss. If the Bankruptcy Court modifies the stay and allows these cases to proceed against United (such that United may resume active participation in them), United expects that it would then wish to join in the aviation defendants` motion to dismiss.
The motions filed with federal Judge Alvin Hellerstein in United States District Court for the Southern District of New York sought the dismissal of lawsuits filed by individuals or businesses that suffered injuries or property damage on the ground, after the terrorists seized control of the airplanes, including lawsuits by individuals or businesses at the World Trade Center site. The motion does not ask for the dismissal of any lawsuits filed by any of the passengers who were aboard the aircraft.
Many people suffered horrible injury, death and loss of property as a result of the events of September 11, 2001. This motion argues that the duty of the airlines, the airports, the security companies and others did not extend to preventing terrorists from seizing control of the four aircraft involved and deliberately using them as weapons of mass destruction to life and property on the ground.
As the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) stated publicly last week, before the September 11 terrorist attacks, no one had envisioned a terrorist taking control of a commercial aircraft and successfully using that aircraft as a weapon.