Second Circuit Affirms Judgment for Friedman Kaplan Clients in 7 World Trade Center Case

December 4, 2013

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed a 2011 decision by United States District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in a case brought by Con Edison that granted summary judgment for Friedman Kaplan's clients 7 World Trade Company, L.P. and Silverstein Properties, Inc. ("Silverstein"). The case involved the 7 World Trade Center office tower, which was damaged in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, burned for seven hours, and ultimately collapsed, destroying a Con Edison substation. Con Edison, together with its subrogated insurers, alleged that the building collapsed as a result of either a negligent design, or the introduction of negligently designed fuel systems, and sought damages exceeding $250 million.

The Court of Appeals held that any breach of duty by the defendants was not the cause-in-fact of the building's collapse. Con Edison had argued that the unfought fire in the building would not have caused its collapse if the building had been properly designed and constructed. The court rejected this argument, stating that it "carves what occurred at 7WTC out of the series of events that occurred on September 11, and this we cannot do." The court found that the "failure to relate the constellation of events surrounding the collapse of 7WTC or to link the unprecedented nature of those events with the negligence at issue is fatal to Con Ed's claims."

Friedman Kaplan's partners Katherine L. Pringle, Eric Seiler, Robert D. Kaplan, Kent K. Anker, and Jeffrey R. Wang, and associate Christopher M. Colorado represented Silverstein.