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A federal judge in Manhattan has set next April 12 as the date for the first trial in the wrongful-death lawsuits stemming from the 9/11 terror attacks. The judge, Alvin K. Hellerstein of Federal District Court, who is also handling respiratory injury claims by ground zero workers, said on Tuesday he wanted to try a wrongful-death case first. “I think in many respects when we think of 9/11,” he said, “we think more of the people in the airplanes than anybody else.” Almost all of the more than 90 lawsuits filed by victims and their survivors have been settled; thousands of other claims were resolved through a special compensation fund. The judge said that he wanted the trial to be finished within a month and that it would involve either two still-pending lawsuits filed on behalf of victims who died on American Airlines Flight 11, the first plane to strike the World Trade Center; or a third unresolved suit, involving a passenger on United Airlines Flight 175, which hit the south tower of the trade center. A lawyer for the plaintiffs in the three cases, Donald A. Migliori, said he would choose by Friday which would go first.
Desmond T. Barry Jr., a lawyer for the defendants, which include the airlines and aviation security companies, said in court that his clients needed more time to prepare for trial. He also said that the three plaintiffs had rejected settlement offers.
By BENJAMIN WEISER Published: July 28, 2009
By ANEMONA HARTOCOLLIS Published: September 4, 2007