Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer was ordered to pay nearly $133,000 by a state judge this week for half the reproduction cost of discovery in a defamation lawsuit brought against him by former American International Group Inc. Chief Executive Officer Maurice “Hank” Greenberg.
Supreme Court Justice Victor Grossman in Putnam County said in a decision published this week that Spitzer must pay half the cost of 47 million pages he asked Greenberg to reproduce as part of discovery, or material to be used during proceedings.
Grossman likened the lawsuit and the conflict on discovery to an episode of HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” and said both Spitzer and Greenberg have deep enough pockets to share the cost until the litigation is resolved.
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“The Court presumes each party has sufficient resources to cover these expenses as no claim is made on the contrary,” Grossman wrote. “Finally, while the parties’ dispute has taken on the appearance of an episode of Game of Thrones, to each of them, there is much at stake.”
Spitzer did not return a call seeking comment Thursday. Robert Dwyer, a partner at Boies Schiller Flexner in Manhattan, who represents Greenberg, said his team was pleased with the decision and didn’t plan to appeal.
Greenberg — who built AIG into one of the biggest insurers in the United States, and is still the chairman and CEO of C.V. Starr & Co. Inc. — is also represented by John Gardiner, a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in Manhattan.
Jay Ward Brown, a partner at Ballard Spahr in Manhattan, deferred comment to a Spitzer spokeswoman. The spokeswoman did not immediately offer comment on the decision.
The lawsuit was brought against Spitzer by Greenberg in 2013 over public remarks the former governor and state attorney general made in 2012. Those statements stem from allegations Spitzer brought as the state attorney general against Greenberg for financial services misconduct.
Greenberg alleged in the suit that Spitzer made defamatory statements against him both in his book “Protecting Capitalism,” which was published in Putnam County in 2013, and in public statements. Those statements were made within days of each other during two different appearances by Spitzer on CNBC’s “Closing Bell With Maria Bartiromo” and his own show, “Viewpoint.”
Greenberg sued Spitzer over the public remarks, after which discovery in the lawsuit was scheduled to begin. According to Grossman, Spitzer requested that Greenberg’s attorneys reproduce any and all documents to show that his public remarks were “materially false.”