Monday, July 23, 2007

Law and Sailing: The America's Cup

Litigation about sailing! What fun!

The Golden Gate Yacht Club (BMW Oracle Racing/Larry Ellison) sued Society Nautique de Geneve (Alinghi/Ernesto Bertarelli) on Friday in the New York Supreme Court.

In summary, the complaint alleges "that SNG has accepted a challenge that is invalid under the Deed of Gift from Club Nautico Espanol de Vela ("CNEV"), a brand new yacht club that had never had an annual regatta before it was specifically created to collaborate with SNG. Indeed, after its supposed challenge for the America's Cup it sponsored a sham annual regatta for children in a sailing training session. SNG used CNEV, as a fabricated challenger, to engineer a match Protocol in which virtually all challenger rights are eliminated and total control of the event and its rules are granted to SNG, altering the very nature of the competition and giving unprecedented and unfair advantages to SNG."

Both parties (Ellison and Bertarelli) have money to burn, so this might go on for a while before the parties settle. If this thing does go to trial, I think I might have to go down to New York to watch. The partner who filed this case, James V. Kearney at Latham and Watkins in New York, has previously represented tobacco companies...and won, so Bertarelli has a fight on his hands if he wants it.


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