Intervenors-Appellants World Trade Center Properties LLC, 1 World Trade Center LLC, 2 World Trade Center LLC, 3 World Trade Center LLC, 4 World Trade Center LLC, and 7 World Trade Company, L.P. (collectively “WTCP Plaintiffs”) appeal from a final Order of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Alvin K. Hellerstein, District Judge) granting Plaintiffs-Appellees’ (collectively “Settling Plaintiffs”) and Defendants-Appellees’ (collectively “Aviation Defendants”) joint motion for orders approving their Settlement Agreement and Mutual Release of Claims, dated February 23, 2010. The district court also ordered all amounts paid pursuant to the settlement agreement to be credited to the contributing Aviation Defendants’ respective liability ceilings under § 408(a)(1) of the Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act of 2001 (“ATSSSA”), Pub. L. No. 107-42, 115 Stat. 230 (2001) (codified as amended at 49 U.S.C. § 40101, note). It further found that Defendant-Appellee Huntleigh USA Corp.’s (“Huntleigh”) insurers will exhaust the limits of Huntleigh’s liability insurance coverage by making payments pursuant to the settlement agreement.
The WTCP Plaintiffs argue that the district court’s application of New York state settlement rules was contrary to, and thus preempted by, ATSSSA. They also contend that the court failed to make a proper evaluation of the fairness of the settlement agreement, and that the court erred in crediting the proposed settlement payments to the contributing Aviation Defendants’ respective liability limits under ATSSSA. We hold that ATSSSA does not preempt New York State’s “first-come, first-served” settlement rule, and that the proposed settlement payments pursuant to the settlement agreement properly reduce the contributing Aviation Defendants’ remaining liability under ATSSSA’s liability limits. We further conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion in finding that the Settling Plaintiffs and Aviation Defendants entered into their settlement in good faith.
BACKGROUNDThis case concerns the multitude of property damage claims that arose from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, when American Airlines Flight 11 and United Air Lines Flight 175 struck Towers One and Two of the World Trade Center. Defendant-Appellee Globe Airport Security Services, Inc. (“Globe”) provided security services for Defendant-Appellee American Airlines, Inc. (“American”) and screened the passengers aboard Flight 11. Huntleigh provided similar services for Defendant-Appellee United Air Lines, Inc. (“United”), and screened the passengers aboard Flight 175.
Judge(s): Debra Ann Livingston
Jurisdiction: U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
Related Categories: Civil Procedure , Damages , Insurance , Property , Transportation
|Circuit Court Judge(s)|
|Trial Court Judge(s)|
|Plaintiff Lawyer(s)||Plaintiff Law Firm(s)|
|Gregory Joseph||Gregory P. Joseph Law Offices LLC|
|Douglas Pepe||Gregory P. Joseph Law Offices LLC|
|Defendant Lawyer(s)||Defendant Law Firm(s)|
|Desmond Barry, Jr.||Condon & Forsyth LLP|
|Roger E. Podesta||Debevoise & Plimpton LLP|
|Intervenors Lawyer(s)||Intervenors Law Firm(s)|
|Cathi Hession||Flemming Zulack Williamson Zauderer LLP|
|Richard Williamson||Flemming Zulack Williamson Zauderer LLP|