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Delaware Supreme Court Affirms Dismissal of Claims Against AIG in Marsh & McLennan Shareholders' Derivative Action

On December 29, the Supreme Court of Delaware, sitting en banc, affirmed the dismissal of a shareholder derivative action against our client, American Insurance Group (AIG).

Following news reports that the New York Attorney General was investigating Marsh & McLennan with respect to allegedly anticompetitive practices in the insurance brokerage industry, shareholders of Marsh brought claims alleging aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty, contribution and indemnification against Maurice Greenberg, the former Chief Executive Officer of AIG, and AIG. At the same time, AIG shareholders brought a derivative suit alleging substantially similar claims against Marsh and its former directors.

On June 17, 2009 Vice Chancellor Strine of the Delaware Chancery Court dismissed all claims against AIG and Greenberg from the bench on the basis of in pari delicto, finding that the allegation of improper actions by Marsh prevented the derivative plaintiffs from pursuing their claims against third party co-conspirators. Vice Chancellor Strine also dismissed the claims brought derivatively by AIG's shareholders against Marsh and other third party defendants.

The AIG and Marsh shareholders appealed, and the appeals were consolidated for oral argument on November 10, 2009 and heard by the Delaware Supreme Court on February 27, 2010. Rather than issue an opinion, the Delaware Supreme Court decided to hear the appeals en banc.

The appeal before the Supreme Court sitting en banc was argued by litigation partner Daniel J. Leffell, and the appeal team included litigation partner Daniel J. Kramer and counsel Amy L. Barton. The chancery court motion was argued by litigation partner Daniel J. Kramer, and the team included counsel Amy L. Barton and Darren W. Johnson.

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