Founded in 1918 with a fleet of just twelve Ford Model Ts, Hertz Global Holdings Inc. has grown into the world's largest rental car company with nearly 8,000 offices worldwide. According to to Reuters, on Friday, the company filed a lawsuit against Audit Integrity Inc. and its chief executive, Jack Zwingli, after its analysts published a report earlier this month indicating Hertz would be among nearly two dozen large companies "most likely to declare bankruptcy" during the next year.

Understandably miffed, Hertz has submitted legal papers accusing Audit Integrity of defamation and being trade libel for publishing a false statement of fact. According to Hertz officials, the defendants had "no factual basis" for the report and said that the conclusions about its financial health were "baseless." The report was released on September 16 and Zwingli was interviewed about it on CNBC television that same day.

Not only is Hertz is seeking monetary and punitive damages in the lawsuit, but they are asking for an official retraction. Audit Integrity is holding its ground. "We firmly stand behind our methodology and findings, and will vigorously defend ourselves against this unwarranted litigation," countered Zwingli in a statement. Nevertheless, Hertz shares were up in today's market trading.

[Source: Reuters UK | Image: Tim Boyle/Getty]