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WILEY REIN, CLIENT SANCTIONED $1.25M NEW YORK � Wiley Rein and its client and co-counsel were sanctioned $1.25 million Monday by a federal judge in Manhattan for withholding and trying to destroy evidence in a case that concerns insurance coverage for the World Trade Center. In the Monday court order, Judge Alvin Hellerstein found that contentions made by Wiley and New Jersey-based Coughlin Duffy, on behalf of Zurich American Insurance Co., “were either dishonest, or objectively unreasonable, or the product of a failure to make reasonable inquiries.” In some cases, according to Judge Hellerstein, the firms waited nearly a year to hand over critical evidence, hindering the court’s procedure and costing millions. Hellerstein issued the sanctions in response to motions by the Port Authority of New Jersey and New York, the landlord of the World Trade Center, and Westfield Corp. Inc., the lessee of the retail space. Along with companies owned by Larry Silverstein, who leased the WTC towers themselves, the Port Authority and Westfield have been litigating with insurers, including Zurich, for more than five years. Among the evidence Judge Hellerstein found to have been withheld was a 62-page insurance policy that had been printed on Sept. 11, 2001, and another document containing handwritten notes. Both indicated that the Port Authority and Westfield were insured by Zurich on 9/11. In the litigation Zurich had denied that Westfield and the Port Authority were entitled to insurance. According to the opinion, Wiley had the 62-page policy in its possession as of March 2003, but did not produce it until 2005. A Wiley partner argued that an unnamed associate failed to report the document to a supervising partner.

The American Lawyer

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