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As WTC Dispute Heads for Phase II, Silverstein Says Setback Will Affect Rebuilding

BestWire (Best Week’s News Service) - May 6, 2004

By David Pilla

Ralph Tortorella III was quoted regarding legal strategy that may be leveraged in Phase II of the World Trade Center insurance trial. The following quote by Tortorella was included:

“The Phase II trial will hinge on interpreting the wording of the Travelers form, and whether it says something different than WilProp about the definition of an occurrence, said Ralph Tortorella III, senior partner/resident director and member of the catastrophic insurance practice group in the New York office of the national law firm Ropers Majeski Kohn & Bentley. That task of interpretation is similar to what occurred when one of the original insurers in the dispute, St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Co., asked a federal judge for a summary judgment based on the language used in its binder, Tortorella said.

Judge John S. Martin Jr. of New York's Southern District reviewed the binding agreement, and ruled that St. Paul bound under a form that defined the twin towers' destruction as a single event (BestWire, Sept. 25, 2002). St. Paul, with $30 million in per-occurrence exposure, was off the hook for double that amount. "That effort at interpretation might be similar to what will happen in Phase II," Tortorella said.