Larry Silverstein, the owner of the World Trade Center, is seeking billions of dollars in compensation from the airlines whose planes flew into the towers on 9/11.
Though Silverstein was paid out $5 billion in insurance money, his attorneys say that doesn't mean he can't sue the airlines for his loss as well. He's asking for $3.5 billion from United Airlines, US Airways and American Airlines; U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein is overseeing the trial, which began on Monday.
Roger Podesta, the attorney for the airlines, says that the amount Silverstein is asking for amounts to double compensation, and is more than two and a half times the value of the buildings that fell. However, Silverstein's attorneys countered with claims that the figure was drawn up from estimates given by accounting and construction experts. They say the cost of replacing the twin towers is upwards of $7 billion, and are accounting for an extra $1 billion to replace the third building.
"This did not just come out of a hat," attorney Richard Williamson said of the damage figures. "You can't just say, 'I have economic loss.'"
Judge Hellerstein is expected to give his ruling later this week, as the trial is expected to only last a few days.
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