. In addition, a separate ruling, involving three companies that insured the trade center, could make it more difficult for Mr. Silverstein to press his claim against 18 other insurance companies.
The ruling raises troubling questions for Silverstein, as well as city, state and federal officials, as to how much money will ultimately be available for rebuilding the 16-acre site. Most analysts expect it will cost more than $7 billion to rebuild the office towers and retail operations that once occupied the site, let alone the proposed transit center, memorial and museum.
Governor George E. Pataki has made it a political priority that Silverstein begin building the first tower on the site next year, at a cost of $1.5 billion, on top of the $600 million that has already been spent on rent, debt service and other fees. If Silverstein loses his insurance case and gets only $3.5 billion, there may not be much money left for any additional buildings.
In a unanimous ruling, the appeals court determined that three insurance companies ・Hartford Fire Insurance, Royal Indemnity and St. Paul Fire and Marine ・are obligated to pay only the amount of their policies, a total of $112 million, under what is known as a Wilprop form, one of the two proposed policies used in the coverage. In a second ruling, the court upheld a lower court decision that a jury must determine whether Silverstein is entitled to one or two payments under the other policy, known as a Travelers form. These issues arose from a long-running series of lawsuits between Silverstein and the insurers.
Silverstein contended that since two planes attacked the two towers at different times, he should be paid double the $3.55 billion amount of his policies.
“The Second Circuit single-handedly rejected almost every argument Silverstein makes,” said Geoff Heineman, a managing partner at the law firm of Ohrenstein & Brown and an expert in insurance litigation and regulation. “It suggests that there may be substantially less money than anticipated for rebuilding the site. A jury will ultimately decide.”