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Thread: WTC Collapse: One Event or Two?

  1. #1

    Default WTC Collapse: One Event or Two?

    Report: WTC Collapse Was Two Events

    By The Associated Press

    April 23, 2003, 1:57 PM EDT

    The twin skyscrapers of the World Trade Center collapsed because their inner cores were weakened by fire, but the south tower's destruction had no direct bearing on the later fall of the north tower, an engineering firm's study says.

    The analysis, made public on Wednesday, was conducted by Weidlinger Associates, a company hired by trade center leaseholder Larry Silverstein.

    Silverstein is battling his insurers in federal court over whether the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorism with hijacked jetliners was one event, justifying a single $3.5 billion payout, or, as he contends, two separate attacks.

    The Weidlinger findings _ first disclosed several months ago but presented in detail on Wednesday _ contradict a 2002 federal study which said the towers' weak floor supports gave way, triggering total collapse of the 110-story buildings.

    Matthys Levy, speaking for the firm, said its experts found that the floor trusses had stood the entire time.

    He said flying debris from the Boeing 767 jetliners scraped fireproofing from the steel support columns on the impacted floors, which were then weakened by the intense heat of fuel-driven fires.

    "It was the fire ... causing the failure of the steel columns and that caused the collapse," he said.

    But the fall of the south tower, about an hour after it was hit, had no effect on the north tower, which was then still standing even though it had been struck first, Levy said.

    The jetliners hit the buildings from opposite directions. Levy said debris from the collapsing south tower caused only minor damage to the facade of the north tower.

    "It was clearly two events," Levy said.

    Levy said the second plane, United Air Lines flight 175, hit the south side of the south tower at such an angle that a corner of the inner core was taken out, fatally weakening the structure.

    In contrast, American Airlines Flight 11 struck the north side of the north tower more centrally, allowing a more even distribution of weight to undamaged columns and keeping the building upright longer.

    Nearly 2,800 people perished at the World Trade Center. Another 184 were killed in a simultaneous attack on the Pentagon and the crash of a fourth hijacked jetliner in Pennsylvania.

    Levy said he had presented his material to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which has taken over the official federal investigation of the trade center disaster.

    Michael Newman, a NIST spokesman, said the agency was considering that hypothesis along with the alternative suggesting floor supports did collapse, and plans to present a progress report next month.

    * * * * * * * * * * * *--------------------


    Of all the question marks concerning rebuilding, I consider this one the most important.

    The firm was retained by Silverstein. I'm sure we will get a report from the insurance companies with a different slant.

  2. #2

    Default WTC Collapse - One Event or Two?

    I am sure just about everyone involved would prefer to see this as two events (more money to spread around) except for the insurance company.

  3. #3

    Default WTC Collapse - One Event or Two?

    I think most people with any common sense would see this as two events. *If only one plane had hit, Silverstein would probably still have one perfectly good 5-million sq ft tower to work with. *But since the towers were attacked a second time, he lost both towers. *You can't blame the insurers for trying to put up a fight, though. *The stakes are ludicrously high.

  4. #4
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    Default WTC Collapse - One Event or Two?

    Yes, but no doubt, this was 2 seperate attacks.

    It's like comparing the downed airliner in pennsylvania and the one that crashed into the pentagon. The hijackers wanted to do the same thing (Kill innocent americans) yet it was 2 seperate attacks.

    It is just the same with the Twin Towers. So here's the question...is it better that Silverstein would be getting more money? I mean, who knows with that guy...

  5. #5

    Default WTC Collapse - One Event or Two?

    Yes.

    The insurance proceeds must go toward replacement. The more he gets, the more he spends. The more he spends, the nicer it is.

    Court arguments are not always so obvious. The claim will probably be made that the damage to one building caused the collapse of the other. This has to be countered with evidence, not just the fact that there were two planes. That's why engineering reports will be critical.

  6. #6

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    Trade Center Developer Suffers Setback in Insurance Dispute

    By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Filed at 6:26 p.m. ET

    NEW YORK (AP) -- A federal appeals court ruled Friday that three World Trade Center insurers can treat the 2001 attack as a single event, but said a jury should decide whether other policies let leaseholder Larry Silverstein collect twice the insurance.

    The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said contracts for three of the 22 insurers clearly call the terrorism one event in terms of coverage. But policies are unclear for the rest of the companies, the court said.

    ``To be sure, a jury could find two occurrences in this case ... or it could find that the terrorist attack, although manifested in two separate airplane crashes, was a single, continuous, planned event causing a continuum of damage that resulted in the total destruction of the WTC, and thus, was a single occurrence,'' the court said.

    Silverstein Properties had asked the appeals court to declare that state law required the terrorist attack to be viewed as two occurrences, thus letting it collect $7 billion rather than $3.5 billion.

    Silverstein estimates its losses related to the terrorism at $8.2 billion. The total includes $5.7 billion for the twin 110-story skyscrapers, retail property and buildings 4 and 5, which were destroyed.

    The appeals court said Judge John S. Martin last year was correct to conclude that the term ``occurrence'' is sufficiently ambiguous under New York law to permit a jury to view evidence on a case-by-case basis.

    Swiss Reinsurance Ltd., responsible for 22 percent of the coverage, will be among those going to trial.

    Barry Ostrager, a lawyer for Swiss Re, said the company may ask a judge to rule in its favor before trial because the court ruling is such a victory for the insurers.

    Howard J. Rubenstein, a spokesman for Silverstein, said he was confident a jury would reject the insurers' attempts to avoid paying for the cost of rebuilding the trade center.

    The appeals court ruling settles contracts with Hartford Fire Insurance Co. and St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Co., and one of two contracts with Royal Indemnity Co. Silverstein Properties had said the three insurance companies accounted for only $112 million of coverage.

    No trial date has been set for the remaining cases.


    Copyright 2003 The Associated Press

  7. #7

    Default

    Yeah there should be no debate. Two seperate hijacked planes, two seperate buildings. If any one of those planes had been shot down, or taken over by the passengers then one of the towers would still be standing. It is obvious.

  8. #8

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    Developer Loses Ruling in Trade Center Insurance Dispute

    By CHARLES V. BAGLI

    Larry A. Silverstein, the developer who controls the commercial leases at the World Trade Center site, suffered a major setback yesterday in his effort to collect $7 billion in insurance payouts by having the Sept. 11 disaster considered as two separate terrorist attacks.

    The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rejected Mr. Silverstein's argument that as a matter of law, the two planes that struck the trade center constituted two attacks requiring two insurance payouts. In addition, a separate ruling, involving three companies that insured the trade center, could make it more difficult for Mr. Silverstein to press his claim against 18 other insurance companies.

    The ruling raises troubling questions for Mr. Silverstein, as well as city, state and federal officials, as to how much money will ultimately be available for rebuilding the 16-acre site. Most analysts expect it will cost more than $7 billion to rebuild the office towers and retail operations that once occupied the site, let alone the proposed transit center, memorial and museum.

    Governor George E. Pataki has made it a political priority that Mr. Silverstein begin building the first tower on the site next year, at a cost of $1.5 billion, on top of the $600 million that has already been spent on rent, debt service and other fees. If Mr. Silverstein loses his insurance case and gets only $3.5 billion, there may not be much money left for any additional buildings.

    In a unanimous ruling, the appeals court determined that three insurance companies — Hartford Fire Insurance, Royal Indemnity and St. Paul Fire and Marine — are obligated to pay only the amount of their policies, a total of $112 million, under what is known as a Wilprop form, one of the two proposed policies used in the coverage. In a second ruling, the court upheld a lower court decision that a jury must determine whether Mr. Silverstein is entitled to one or two payments under the other policy, known as a Travelers form. These issues arose from a long-running series of lawsuits between Mr. Silverstein and the insurers.

    Mr. Silverstein contended that since two planes attacked the two towers at different times, he should be paid double the $3.55 billion amount of his policies.

    "The Second Circuit single-handedly rejected almost every argument Silverstein makes," said Geoff Heineman, a managing partner at the law firm of Ohrenstein & Brown and an expert in insurance litigation and regulation. "It suggests that there may be substantially less money than anticipated for rebuilding the site. A jury will ultimately decide."

    A trial in United States District Court in Manhattan is not expected to begin before early next year.

    The ruling may further exacerbate tensions between Mr. Silverstein and the GMAC Commercial Mortgage Corporation, which has been concerned about whether its $563 million loan to Mr. Silverstein is secure. The lender had gone to court to freeze insurance payments to Mr. Silverstein and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the land and is a party to the lawsuit with insurance companies.

    GMAC controls a bank account holding $1.3 billion in insurance proceeds destined for the rebuilding. An additional $600 million in proceeds has already been spent on rent, debt service and fees. Fearing that there may not be enough money to go around, GMAC wants to set aside some of the insurance money to cover its loan. Earlier this week, GMAC agreed to give Mr. Silverstein and the Port Authority a month to put together a settlement proposal or pay off the loan.

    Mr. Silverstein issued a statement yesterday expressing disappointment with the Second Circuit's ruling. He took solace in the fact that the decision applied to only 3 percent of the total insurance coverage, while the rest would be determined on a case-by-case basis.

    "While we had hoped that the Second Circuit would rule that the events of Sept. 11 constituted two occurrences as a matter of law, we are fully confident that a jury hearing all the evidence will reject the insurers' attempts to avoid paying," said Howard J. Rubenstein, a spokesman for Mr. Silverstein.

    The Port Authority issued a statement yesterday saying it was confident that Mr. Silverstein would ultimately prevail and reiterating its contention that the destruction of the trade center constituted two attacks, and therefore two "occurrences."

    In any event, the insurers involved in the decision were ecstatic.

    "It's a smashing victory for insurers," said Michael Barr, a lawyer for Royal Indemnity. "The court's decision is a victory for common sense and the plain meaning of words."

    Harvey Kurzweil, a lawyer for Travelers, said, "This vindicates Travelers' position that a jury should be permitted to decide whether this was a single coordinated terrorist attack constituting one occurrence under the Travelers policy."

    The insurance dispute is complicated by the fact that Mr. Silverstein took control of the commercial space at the trade center in July 2001, only seven weeks before the terrorist attack. At that point, his insurance companies had signed binders pledging to provide $3.55 billion in coverage per occurrence, but the final documents had not been completed.

    Mr. Silverstein's insurance broker had drawn up the Wilprop form in an effort to limit the number of deductibles in the event of a claim and presented it to potential insurers. Travelers, however, insisted that its own form be used.

    Most companies dispute Mr. Silverstein's claim that Travelers, with its relatively small piece of the total insurance coverage, was the "lead" insurer and everyone else agreed to follow suit. The Travelers form, Mr. Silverstein maintained, had a less specific definition of "occurrence," making it easier to claim that the destruction of the trade center justified a double payment.

    But the Second Circuit upheld a lower court decision that it was by no means certain; a jury must decide.


    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

  9. #9

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    Soo stupid. And this is not the last we will hear from Silverstein. This ruling is bogus.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: WTC Collapse - One Event or Two?

    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp
    The twin skyscrapers of the World Trade Center collapsed because their inner cores were weakened by fire, but the south tower's destruction had no direct bearing on the later fall of the north tower, an engineering firm's study says.
    This is the first time I have read/heard of this. If this engineering firm came up with this as the cause of the collapse, then I am skeptical of their skills.

    Zippy, Is the report accessible anywhere on the web?

  11. #11

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    I could not find the report on the company's webpage. A Google search produced several pages of sites - but those that I checked only made reference to the findings, not the report itself.

  12. #12

  13. #13
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    I think money has more to do with this than anything else. But I am leaning to think of it has two separate events. It is possible that any one of those planse could have been stopped and one did not depend on the other.

    This is along the lines of forensics and our daily lives does not fit within that realm.Two people can get shot, but the cause of death for one be the act of being shot whereas for the other it is massive internal hemorraging.

    Just pay what it would cost to replace the complex as it was, even if that does not cover the cost of rebuilding. That seems fair.

  14. #14

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    Just pay what it would cost to replace the complex as it was, even if that does not cover the cost of rebuilding. That seems fair.
    That doesn't sound feasible. You have to pay more to make the buildings and the surrounding areas safer. We don't want to see another 2,800 or more people killed by bin Laden's thugs anymore!

  15. #15

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    The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rejected Mr. Silverstein's argument that as a matter of law, the two planes that struck the trade center constituted two attacks requiring two insurance payouts.

    In a second ruling, the court upheld a lower court decision that a jury must determine whether Mr. Silverstein is entitled to one or two payments under the other policy, known as a Travelers form.
    The key in the first ruling is that the court rejected it as a matter of law. The way the policies are written is the determing factor. In the second ruling, the policies covering the other 97% would have to be litigated in a jury trial.

    How would it make any difference to the argument if the planes hit simultaneously?

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