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Trials & Litigation

Boies Wins With Show-Me-the-Paperwork Argument in Greenberg Case

Posted Jul 8, 2009 7:40 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Federal jurors in New York sided with litigator David Boies yesterday and rejected a claim that his client, the former chief executive of American International Group, had improperly transferred $4.3 billion in company stock to a corporation he controlled.

AIG had claimed that after Maurice “Hank” Greenberg was ousted as CEO he improperly converted shares that were supposed to be held in trust for the insurer. Jurors rejected the contention, finding Greenberg’s company, Starr International, not liable for conversion, according the New York Times and the American Lawyer. They also found in an advisory decision that Starr did not breach the trust by removing the stock; Judge U.S. District Jed Rakoff will ultimately decide the second issue. Jurors reached a verdict after 5 ½ hours of deliberations, Bloomberg News reports.

Boies, of Boies, Schiller & Flexner, had argued there was no written record showing a trust had ever been created, the American Lawyer reports. “Mr. Wells did not point you to one piece of paper that says, in words or in substance, we, AIG, want to create a trust," Boies said in closing arguments.

AIG lawyer Ted Wells, a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, argued that Greenberg had said in past speeches that Starr International held the stock in trust for AIG. Starr had operated AIG’s retirement plan. In closing arguments, Wells offered a dramatic argument that Greenberg had lied on the stand, the American Lawyer story says.

“These are big lies,” Wells said. “And there is a certain brazenness to these lies. Running through all of this, I submit, you can conclude based on the evidence, is a certain arrogance, almost, and I can just say anything. I can walk through the raindrops and not be touched. A certain arrogance, almost an audacity of arrogance."

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