Court strikes down lawsuit holding developer responsible for World Trade Center building collapse

By Daniel Beekman New York Daily News


Developer Larry Silverstein speaks next to a model of the new 7 World Trade Center tower during an unveiling of the plans in 2002. MIKE SEGAR/REUTERS

The collapse of a third World Trade Center building several hours after the twin towers were destroyed on 9/11 terrorist cannot be attributed to negligence by its developer, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

Con Edison and its insurance companies claimed a company owned by developer Larry Silverstein and others was responsible for World Trade Center 7 being destroyed in the terrorist attacks.

The plaintiffs argued the 47-story building had structural deficiencies.

But the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Manhattan said it would be “simply incompatible with common sense and experience to hold that defendants were required to design and construct a building that would survive the events of September 11, 2001.”

When the north tower fell, it sent flaming debris into 7 WTC that gouged chunks out of the building and ignited a blaze that firefighters were unable to douse, the court said.

Its ruling upholds earlier decisions by Manhattan Federal Judge Joseph Hellerstein that Con Ed appeals to the higher court.

“We are pleased that the Court of Appeals has affirmed the dismissal of these claims,” Silverstein spokesman Bud Perrone said.

7WTC collapsed at 5:21 p.m. on September 11, crushing a Con Ed power station below the building.

The appeals court decision by a panel of three judges was divided two to one. Judge Richard Wesley dissented.

Con Ed is reviewing its legal options, said company spokesman Bob McGee. He declined to comment on the ruling.

A new 7 WTC opened in 2006. It has 52 stories. The original building had been completed in 1987.

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