Judge Affirms Previous Decision in America’s Cup Dispute

May 9, 2008

A New York state court judge has sided with the Golden Gate Yacht Club in a dispute about whether Societe Nautique de Geneve, and its America’s Cup two-time defending champion Alinghi, should have to first defend its title against the GGYC-backed BMW Oracle Racing rather than another opponent.
Judge Herman J. Cahn wrote that SNG had not submitted “any new or additional facts” in asking the court to reconsider its ruling from the fall of 2007.
“Reargument is not designed to afford the unsuccessful party successive opportunities to reargue issues previously decided,” wrote the court, citing William P. Pahl Equipment Corp. v. Kassis, 182 Ad2d 22 (1st Dept.)
In its original argument, SNG maintained that GGYC’s challenge was invalid under the Deed of Gift, a 19th Century document that governs how challenges are made for the Cup.
The origins of the dispute centered on SNG’s decision to accept the challenge of another team on July 3, 2007. Eight days later, GGYC issued its challenge, maintaining that it met the requirements set forth in the Deed. The dispute was resolved in New York state court when a judge found that the bid by the first challenger was invalid and that GGYC should be the “challenger of record.”
In seeking a reargument of the decision, SNG claimed, first, that the challenge of GGYC was “deficient on its face” and, second, that the facts the court relied upon were “no longer true.”
The court dismissed the first argument, noting the SNG did not “demonstrate that the court overlooked any relevant fact, misapprehended the law or otherwise mistakenly arrived at its determination.”
The court was also unpersuaded by the second argument, that the first challenger had met one of the Deed’s requirements (holding an annual regatta) since issuing its initial notice of challenge on July 3, 2007. The court quoted from its previous decision that even though the initial challenger “may someday comply with the conditions of the Deed it has no bearing on GGYC’s valid challenge that is issued after the date of (the first challenger)’s invalid challenge.”
SNG, which is represented by attorney Lucien Masmejan, has since appealed the decision to the state’s appellate court, an argument that is expected to be decided in June.
Golden Gate Yacht Club v. Societe Nautique de Geneve; Sup.Ct.N.Y.; Index No. 602446/2007; 3/17/08


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