Insurers face $3.5bn World Trade Center suit

A trio of New York firms have scooped roles advising on the $3.5bn (£1.9bn) litigation filed against World Trade Center insurers yesterday.

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom insurance partner Timothy Reynolds is advising the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) alongside Wachtell Lipton’s Marc Wolinsky, acting for developer Larry Silverstein, in the lawsuit.

The PANYNJ and Silverstein are seeking payment from seven insurance companies who refuse to pay property insurance claims because the original development plan for the World Trade Center site has been changed.

In the claim, filed in New York yesterday (26 June), the claimants say that the redevelopment plan depends on the insurance money being paid.

The insurers facing the lawsuit are Allianz, Industrial Risk Insurers, Travelers Indemnity, Royal Indemnity Company, Gulf Insurance, Zurich American Insurance and Employers Insurance of Wasau.

Silverstein entered into a lease agreement with the PANYNJ in July 2001, giving him the right to rebuild the site following its destruction in the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Allianz, which is instructing Minneapolis firm Zelle Hofmann Voebel Mason & Gette, said in a statement: “Allianz views the new state court suit as unnecessary because it selectively addresses only one of many issues between the parties. This one issue and many others are already part of a comprehensive federal lawsuit that has been actively proceeding for nearly five years. Allianz is eager for a judicial resolution of this matter in the proper forum.”