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The contractors who designed and built New York City’s emergency operations center at 7 World Trade Center that was destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001, are shielded by immunity under the New York State Defense Emergency Act, a southern district judge has ruled. Alvin Hellerstein said that, like New York City, those firms are protected by the act, which grants immunity for actions taken to prepare for and respond to attacks on the state and the country. Hellerstein also rejected similar claims against contractors, designers and architects who helped build and maintain a 24-hour emergency operations center for Salomon Brothers brokerage at 7 World Trade Center, which caught fire and was destroyed following the terror attacks. Some of the massive litigation that followed was based on the claim that negligent design and construction, particularly the decision to house large diesel fuel tanks in the building, made it impossible for firefighters to quell the blaze. Hellerstein’s March 9 ruling was on third-party indemnification and contribution claims against designers, architects and contractors made by World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein’s Seven World Trade Center Co. and Silverstein Properties Inc.

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