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Business litigation settlement finally closes 9/11 claim

It seems incredible that litigation stemming from the attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001 could be just winding down this many years later. A report from Reuters indicates that the brokerage firm of Cantor Fitzgerald will be settling with American Airlines over losses suffered by the firm after American's Flight 11 hit the north office tower, which resulted in the death of 658 Cantor employees. Cantor is a worldwide firm which operates also in California. This is, however, an obviously complex and far-reaching piece of tort and business litigation, making it understandable that it could take this many years to work out.

The Reuters report is framed in terms of this being a settlement for "business and property losses" stemming from the deadly collision. In that sense, it must be distinguished from personal injury actions that would be vested in the deceased employees' families under state and federal tort remedies for wrongful death and the like. This claim leaves out personal injury and seeks to collect the damages to the business itself.

That doesn't make the 658 deaths irrelevant. For one thing, when half of the firm was wiped out, it caused a total disruption of business due to the loss of key personnel. The loss in human skills and ingenuity was staggering to the company, which virtually had to start over again, at least in New York. That does not even begin to measure the loss in information, data, client files, equipment, physical facilities and other objects of doing business.

Generally, in California or elsewhere, when a defendant causes the complete shut-down of a business by a tortious interference, all lost profits are compensable. There may have been an issue over proving lost profits from that particular office but there are probably sufficient records of income and earnings available with the company's accountants and at other networked offices. The parties have settled this business litigation claim making it unnecessary for the plaintiff to figure out precisely how it was going to prove its complicated multi-damages case. Hopefully, it is a reasonable and fair settlement satisfactory to both sides.

Source: MSN Money, Cantor Fitzgerald, American settle 9/11 lawsuit -court records, No author, Dec. 13, 2013

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