World Trade Center leaseholder fails in bid to increase insurance pay-out

The titanic battle between two of the New York bar’s trial heavyweights is nearing its end after a US federal jury rejected World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein’s bid to effectively double his insurance payments from Swiss Re.

As reported by the New York Lawyer, Silverstein’s lead attorney, Herb Wachtell of Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, has failed in his bid to show that the attacks on the World Trade Centre constituted two separate occurrences and that the $877.5m owed by Swiss Re under insurance policies should be doubled.

The verdict is a serious blow to Silverstein, who has insisted since September 2001 that the attacks were two separate occurrences and that the $3.5bn owed by all insurers should be doubled to $7bn. It comes five days after Silverstein lost on the same question to other insurance companies.

The result, which came after five full days of jury deliberation, is a triumph for Swiss Re’s attorneys, Barry Ostrager and Mary Kay Vyskocil of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, who paid tribute to Wachtell, calling him a “formidable” adversary.

The case, dubbed “the clash of the titans,” has transfixed the US legal market since 2001, staging the battle of two of the market’s most feared and renowned trial attorneys.