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Former AIG chief Hank Greenberg and former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer have a lot in common. Both are children of Manhattan, used to getting their way and extremely rich. Oh, yea, and both were forced to resign in disgrace at the pinnacles of their careers. Still, given that Spitzer’s pursuit of Greenberg helped lead to the latter’s resignation (well, retirement) in disgrace a few years before his own, leading to a genuine loathing between the two so fierce that Greenberg has spent the better part of his 80s and 90s litigating his downfall rather than, say, with his grandchildren and beloved dog, it’s a bit gauche to notice the similarities in Greenberg’s presence. But so exasperated was the judge overseeing Greenberg’s defamation suit against Spitzer—who called AIG’s accounting under Greenberg “fraudulent” on television just after his successor as New York attorney general did in a legal settlement Greenberg signed off on—that he went there.

Legal proceedings had been moving slowly for years, with a trial scheduled for January. Judge Grossman said that pretrial discovery expenses had exceeded $250,000 and that at least 16 lawyers had been involved “as the parties slog toward their judicial Armageddon….”

“Each is outspoken and direct,” the judge wrote. “Each has sought to rebuild his public stature after setbacks. In these respects, they may be more alike than different.”

Yea, Victor Grossman went there. And while we’re not sure it can really get worse for Greenberg from here, Grossman gives it his best shot.

A New York judge threw out a defamation lawsuit filed by former American International Group Inc. chief Maurice “Hank” Greenberg against former state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, ending a seven-year court battle…. In a 69-page opinion last week, Judge Victor Grossman said Mr. Greenberg hadn’t provided sufficient evidence to prove actual malice. He also said that in a defamation case, the word “fraud” had a colloquial meaning that a viewer or listener would understand, not a legal one.

Judge Hands Eliot Spitzer Victory in 7-Year Legal Fight With Hank Greenberg [WSJ]


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