We haven’t yet read the Court of Federal Claims decision in its entirety, but word reaches us that the court ruled pretty much as we predicted. It held that AIG was badly treated by the feds when they seized its stock, but it also ruled that inasmuch as AIG was then on the verge of bankruptcy, its stock was then worthless. So Uncle Sam took nothing of value and the plaintiffs are not entitled to compensation. It thus boils down to a court conclusion of no harm — no foul. Just as we predicted; see http://gideonstrumpet.info/?p=7164
The essence of the court’s ruling is captured by the following two passages:
“In the end, the Achilles’ heel of Starr’s case is that, if not for the Government’s intervention, AIG would have filed for bankruptcy. In a bankruptcy proceeding, AIG’s
shareholders would most likely have lost 100 percent of their stock value.” Slip Opinion, p. 9
* * *
“Particularly in the case of a corporate conglomerate largely composed of insurance subsidiaries, the assets of such subsidiaries would have been seized by state or
national governmental authorities to preserve value for insurance policyholders.” Id., p. 10
The Conclusion to the court’s opinion
“Based upon the foregoing, the Court concludes that the Credit Agreement Shareholder Class shall prevail on liability due to the Government’s illegal exaction, but
shall recover zero damages, and that the Reverse Stock Split Shareholder Class shall not prevail on liability or damages. The Clerk is directed to issue final judgment consistent with this opinion.”
You can get the opinion by clicking on https://ecf.cofc.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/show_public_doc?2011cv0779-443-0
In other words, whatever Uncle Sam took was worthless in terms of its fair market value at the time of the taking, and therefore nothing is what the plaintiffs got.
More to come after we get a chance to read the entire opinion.
A random thought: if you want to see how the other half really litigates, go to the very end of the opinion and check out the interminable list of interested parties. Wow!
Follow-up: If you want to see how the Establishment sees this litigation, see Andrew Ross Sorkin, Surprise Ruling[*] Finds Bailout Shorted A.I.G., N.Y. Times, June 16, 2015, at p. A1. Also see Aaron M. Kessler, A.I.G. Boss Wins Suit But Loses the War, N.Y. Times, June 16, 2015, at p. B1 (Business Section).
* This ruling may have been a “surprise” to the self-proclaimed mavens at the NY Times, but it was no surprise to us, as you can see from our earlier posts on this subject.