WTC Leaseholder Seeks Losses for Two Occurrences from 9/11

January 14, 2002

According to a Reuters report, World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein is expected to file a motion in a Manhattan Court on Jan. 17, to seek a ruling that the Sept. 11 attacks were two separate strikes. The ruling would allow Silverstein to collect twice the amount of the expected costs resulting from the attack.

Insurers argue that the WTC was destroyed by a single attack, entitling Silverstein to a $3.6 billion payment. Some insurers maintain that the first and second towers share the base floors and many of the operating systems, thus rendering it one.

Although more than 20 insurers are directly involved in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, attacks, Silverstein’s newest dispute is over a policy with Travelers Indemnity Co., a subsidiary of Citigroup Inc., that reads differently than other companies. Swiss Re, the largest insurer of the WTC, already filed suit against Silverstein in October.

U.S. District Judge John Martin warned Silverstein’s lawyer Herbert Watchell not to move forward too quickly, but agreed that he had the right to proceed. Travelers will have eight weeks to prepare a response to the motion, according to Martin.

According to Harry Kurzweil, a lawyer representing Travelers, the information involved in the suit is extremely complicated and will take well more than eight weeks to prepare. Lawyers expect an extension of this time period, as the attacks are still being investigated.

Additionally, Employers Insurance of Wisconsin filed suit against Silverstein in a separate motion on Jan. 9, seeking a decision on its obligations from the terrorist attacks.

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