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Settlement reached on eve of September 11 airline trial

NEW YORK (Reuters) - What could have been the only wrongful death trial stemming from the September 11, 2001, attacks ended on Monday after the two sides reached a settlement.

The 2002 lawsuit, filed by the mother of Mark Bavis who died when United Airlines Flight 175 slammed into the World Trade Center, had accused United Airlines of negligence in allowing the five hijackers to board the flight armed.

The lawsuit in Manhattan federal court had been the only one of dozens filed after the attacks not to have resulted in a settlement until now.

The Bavis family had initially seemed intent on having the lawsuit heard by a jury of ordinary New Yorkers, and the trial had been slated for November.

There were no details of the settlement in a one-paragraph court document saying the parties had agreed to dismiss the lawsuit. The case had been presided over by U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein, who has overseen much of the post-September 11 litigation.

"The family has spent nine grueling years trying to get this case to trial," the family's attorney, Donald Migliori, said. But they ultimately decided the "nature of the trial would be too limited."

The lawsuit had also named Huntleigh USA Corp, the security firm contracted by the airline to run passenger screening at Logan International Airport in Boston, where the flight originated.

The Bavis family on Friday had filed over 100 court exhibits aiming to give a detailed account of what it says were multiple overlapping layers of security lapses, from the individuals manning the Logan airport checkpoints, to United's lack of compliance with federal security rules.

United has said it implemented all the mandated government requirements for security and could not be held responsible.

"The tragic events of 9/11 impacted all of us, and we are pleased to resolve this case," a spokeswoman for United said.

(Reporting by Basil Katz; Editing by Peter Cooney and Cynthia Johnston)

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