Friedman Kaplan Receives National Award for Forensic Investigation of 7 World Trade Center Collapse

Friedman Kaplan and international consulting engineer Weidlinger Associates, Inc., received a 2015 American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) National Grand Award for the comprehensive in-depth forensic investigation of the collapse of 7WTC. The award, honoring the achievements of the selected engineering firms and their clients, is one of ACEC's most prestigious honors; as one of only eight Grand Award winners, the project was also a finalist for the ACEC 2015 Grand Conceptor Award, which recognizes the nation's best overall engineering project. The award was presented April 21, 2015, at the organization's annual gala in Washington, DC's Washington Marriott Wardman Park.

On September 11, 2001, 7WTC, a 47-story steel-framed high-rise in Manhattan's World Trade Center Complex, was showered by massive amounts of hot debris ejected during the collapse of One World Trade Center, destroying portions of the structural system and igniting fires on multiple floors, which burned, unfought, throughout the day. At approximately 5:20 p.m., the building collapsed suddenly and completely, becoming the first steel skyscraper ever to collapse due to fire.

Friedman Kaplan, which represented 7 World Trade Company, L.P. and Silverstein Properties, Inc., and counsel for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey retained Weidlinger to investigate allegations that design errors, construction defects, or a faulty fuel system had caused the collapse. To determine the root cause of the collapse, a team of Weidlinger experts performed an in-depth forensic study, combining state-of-the-art computer technology with information from photos, videos, and eyewitness accounts. The Weidlinger team modeled the 7WTC structure at an unprecedented level of detail, employing nonlinear dynamic thermomechanical computational analyses to capture the physics of the phenomenon and identify the most plausible sequence of failure. The study concluded that the building was appropriately designed and built in accordance with applicable design codes, and that it was the extraordinary events of 9/11, not any construction or design deficiency, that caused the collapse.

ACEC is the voice of America's engineering industry. Its members - numbering more than 5,000 firms representing more than 500,000 employees throughout the country - are engaged in a wide range of engineering works that propel the nation's economy, and enhance and safeguard America's quality of life. These works allow Americans to drink clean water, enjoy a healthy life, take advantage of new technologies, and travel safely and efficiently. The Council's mission is to contribute to America's prosperity and welfare by advancing the business interests of member firms.

Weidlinger Associates, Inc., is a structural engineering firm that designs and rehabilitates buildings, bridges, and infrastructure and provides special services in applied science, forensics, and physical security. The firm, which employs about 275 full-time staff, celebrated its 65th year in 2014. It is recognized worldwide for its innovative and practical design solutions and for its long-term commitment to advancing the state of the art in engineering. Headquartered in New York City, the firm has branch offices in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Friedman Kaplan litigation partners Katherine L. Pringle, Eric Seiler, Jeffrey R. Wang, and Kent K. Anker, and litigation associates Christopher M. Colorado and Sheela V. Pai represented 7 World Trade Company, L.P. and Silverstein Properties, Inc.