Chubb wants an array of other insurers to pay up for the cost of cleaning up the Deutsche Bank site damaged by the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center, saying that its multimillion-dollar share is disproportionate.
Federal Insurance Co., a Chubb company, filed a lawsuit in New York state court against more than 20 companies it claims need to shoulder a larger burden for costs rising out of demolition and cleanup of the Deutsche Bank buildings in lower Manhattan. Chubb said it has paid more than $5 million to date, approximately one-third of the bank's legal defense costs, according to the suit.
The amount paid by Chubb to date "is significantly more than its proportionate or fair share of the underlying defense costs," according to the lawsuit.
"Federal now seeks to recover its overpayment of defense costs from the defendant insurance carriers who refused to acknowledge their defense obligations and/or to pay their fair share," the plaintiff claimed.
The Deutsche Bank site, also known as One Bankers Trust Plaza, was damaged by falling debris from the adjacent World Trade Center towers destroyed on Sept. 11. Some 327 workers involved in the demolition sued the bank, claiming exposure to toxic substances, fumes and particulates, according to the Chubb lawsuit.
The workers claim they breathed contaminated air and physically handled the debris without proper respiratory masks and protective equipment. They are seeking damages for various alleged injuries, including, but not limited to, asthma, chronic bronchitis, respiratory problems, eye and ear problems, acid reflux, alcoholism, seizures, depression, cancer, and death, according to the lawsuit.
The lead defendant in the Chubb filing is Commerce and Industry Insurance Co., a subsidiary of American International Group. An AIG spokesman declined to comment on the case.
The attorney for Federal Insurance Co., David Finkler of Leech Tishman Fuscaldo & Lampl, declined to immediately comment on the case.