In-House Counsel

Hertz GC Sues Analyst for Predicting Possible Bankruptcy

The general counsel of Hertz Global Holdings Inc. has filed a suit claiming a research firm defamed the auto rental company by issuing pessimistic statements about Hertz’s financial condition.

The firm, Audit Integrity, put Hertz and 19 other companies on a list of concerns that were “likely to go bankrupt or suffer severe financial distress,” Corporate Counsel reports. Audit Integrity’s CEO discussed the list on CNBC television.

Hertz general counsel Jeffrey Zimmerman wrote a Sept. 15 letter to Audit Integrity, accusing it of reaching “incomplete and misleading conclusions.” Less than two weeks later, he filed a suit for defamation and trade libel in New Jersey state court seeking damages, a retraction and an apology, the story says.

“The unmistakable assertion disseminated by defendants in their public statements is that Hertz lacks integrity, lies to shareholders and others, engages in fraudulent financial reporting, and is heading for bankruptcy,” Zimmerman said. His letter noted that Hertz has a Moody’s rating of Aa1.

Audit Integrity issued a statement saying it stands by its findings and will “vigorously defend” itself.

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