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AIG wins narrowing of shareholder lawsuits over 2008 bailout

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(Reuters) — A federal judge on Thursday narrowed several lawsuits against American International Group Inc. by shareholders who opted out of the $970.5 million class action settlement that she approved in March over the insurer's 2008 bailout.

U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain in Manhattan dismissed claims that she said were brought too late against AIG in the six "opt-out" lawsuits, which were filed between November 2011 and February 2015.

She rejected the argument by plaintiffs that the filing of the shareholder class action gave them more time to pursue their own claims, without running afoul of statutes of limitation. Judge Swain also dismissed claims brought under state common law.

The six lawsuits did not all raise the same claims against AIG, which is based in New York.

AIG spokesman Jon Diat said, "We are pleased with the decision."

As in the class action, opt-out shareholders claimed that AIG misled them about its subprime mortgage exposure and the risks that the insurer took in credit default swaps, culminating in $182.3 billion of federal bailouts.

The shareholders include the Kuwait Investment Authority, the Teachers Retirement System of the State of Illinois, the Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC Private Ltd., the University of California, and various General Electric and Lord Abbett investment funds.

Plaintiffs often file opt-out lawsuits if they believe they can recover more by suing individually rather than in a class.

Jonathan Schiller, a lawyer for the Kuwait fund, said Judge Swain's decision "has no effect on our client," which filed the earliest of the opt-out lawsuits.

Lawyers for the other plaintiffs did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Other defendants who won dismissals of various claims include former AIG Chief Executive Martin Sullivan; Joseph Cassano, who oversaw the CDS portfolio; and various executives and board members.

The bailouts left taxpayers with a nearly 80% stake in AIG, which the government later sold off, resulting in a $22.7 billion return.

The cases are all in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York. They are Kuwait Investment Authority v. American International Group Inc. et al., No. 11-08403; Teachers Retirement System of the State of Illinois v. American International Group Inc. et al., No. 13-03377; GIC Private Ltd. v. American International Group Inc. et al., No. 13-06565; Regents of the University of California v. American International Group Inc. et al., No. 14-01270; Lord Abbett Affiliated Fund Inc. et al. v. American International Group Inc. et al., No. 15-00774; and General Electric Pension Trust et al. v. American International Group Inc. et al., No. 15-00957.