Wulff Chosen to Head 9/11 Panel on WTC
Randall W. Wulff of Piedmont was selected Tuesday by U.S. District Chief Judge Michael B. Mukasey of New York to be chief umpire on a three-person appraisal panel that will address reconstruction costs as well as rental value and business interruption damages. Hearings are expected to begin later this year.
The battle over the monetary costs of the World Trade Center's destruction, and who will be paid how much for those costs, has become almost as twisted as the wreckage of the towers. And the battle has turned somewhat political, with New York officials touting the rebuilding of Ground Zero as crucial to the region's economic recovery.
World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein claims his insurers owe him almost twice their policy limits -- as much as $6.8 billion -- based on a switch in insurance forms that he believes recognizes the two impacts by two hijacked jet airliners as two separate losses. His claim went to a six-man, six-woman federal jury Monday after a 10-week trial.
After the jury -- and those in future proceedings involving other members of Silverstein's jury pool -- has determined the extent of the insurers' liability, it'll be up to Wolff's panel to determine what the actual losses are.
Wulff was with San Francisco's Farella, Braun and Martel from 1974 -- first as a trial lawyer, and from 1994 on as a "neutral" mediator -- until 2000, when he cofounded Oakland's Wulff Quinby Sochynsky, which exclusively provides mediation, arbitration and other alternative dispute resolution services.
He has helped settle almost 2,000 cases in the past 15 years, including the recent $1.1 billion settlement of the California class action against Microsoft. He also has helped resolve monetary disputes related to renovation of the Oakland Arena and construction of other high-profile projects from ballparks to Las Vegas casinos. And he has authored, edited or co-edited books on alternative dispute resolution.
His firm's Web site says his daily fee is $9,500 for cases in the Bay Area or Sacramento, $11,000 for cases elsewhere.
Wulff holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Oregon, attended the Netherlands Institute of International Business and holds a law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco.