- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 22, 2003

NEW YORK (AP) — The holder of the World Trade Center lease tried to convince a federal appeals court yesterday that the destruction of the twin towers represented two attacks, not one, entitling him to a payout of about $7 billion instead of $3.5 billion.

The trade center’s insurers, led by Swiss Reinsurance Co. and Travelers, argued instead that September 11 should be considered a single occurrence under the policy.

The appeals court decision is not expected for months.

The case will help determine how much money is available to rebuild the trade center site, said Herbert Wachtell, a lawyer for leaseholder Larry Silverstein.

Mr. Wachtell told the three-judge panel that Mr. Silverstein should be allowed to collect losses based on two occurrences.

“The first plane brought down the first tower. The second plane brought down the [other] tower,” he said. “If they are separate occurrences, time does not make a difference. Location does not make a difference.”

Travelers attorney Harvey Kurzweil said the word “occurrence” in the policy depends entirely on context — and in this case, he said, the towers were brought down by a single attack carried out with “militarylike precision.”

He said Mr. Silverstein himself wanted the broadest possible meaning in the policy because he was concerned about terrorism, given the 1993 trade center bombing.

The appeals could rule the assault was two separate events — or it could rule, as a lower court judge did last year, that the question should be decided by a jury.

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