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Monday, December 16, 2013

Second Circuit releases developer of World Trade Center 7 from liability

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The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Wednesday that developers of the 7 World Trade Center (7WTC) Building were not liable for the damages caused by the collapse of the 7WTC several hours after the twin towers were destroyed in the 9/11 [JURIST backgrounder] terrorist attack. The owner of the electrical substation that was destroyed during the collapse sued the defendants for negligence. In the 2-1 decision, the Second Circuit affirmed the decision of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website], which dismissed the case but on a different ground. The court held that even if there was negligence on part of the defendants, it was not the cause-in-fact of 7WTC's collapse. Although defendants owed the plaintiff a duty of care, the court reasoned that "given the unprecedented nature and sheer magnitude of the events of September 11, the alleged negligence on the part of defendants was not the cause-in-fact of the collapse of 7WTC." The court rejected plaintiff's argument that different designs could have prevented the collapse, reasoning that "[i]t is simply incompatible with common sense and experience to hold that defendants were required to design and construct a...

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