BMW Oracle Wins Ruling on America’s Cup Dispute

Judge Cahn refuses to invalidate Larry Ellison's challenge.

March 18, 2008


Courtesy Bmw Oracle Racing

Original story as reported by Patricia Hurtado and Alex Duff/ Bloomberg:

Larry Ellison’s BMW-Oracle won the right to be the official challenger against America’s Cup champion Alinghi owned by billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli, a judge in New York ruled.

BMW Oracle sued last year in New York state court in Manhattan, claiming Alinghi didn’t have the sole right, as the race’s 32nd winner, to set competition terms.


New York State Supreme Court Judge Herman Cahn today denied a request by Bertarelli’s Alinghi team to reargue his November decision. The judge also refused a request to invalidate Oracle’s challenge.

Cahn in November sided with Ellison’s group, ruling that Club Nautico Espanol de Vela, a Spanish team selected by Alinghi, shouldn’t be the challenger.

James V. Kearney, a partner at Latham & Watkins, who is representing Ellison’s Golden Gate Yacht Club, said he didn’t have an immediate comment on the decision. Daphne Barnicoat, an Alinghi spokeswoman, wasn’t immediately available for comment.


The case is Golden Gate Yacht Club v. Societe Nautique de Geneve, 602446/2007, New York Supreme Court (Manhattan).

This is what Alinghi has to say:

(New York, 18 March 2008) In response to New York Supreme Court Justice Herman Cahn’s order today designating Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC) as America’s Cup Challenger of Record replacing Club Nautico Español de Vela (CNEV), lead counsel for the defending yacht club, Societe Nautique de Geneve (SNG), Lucien Masmejan, issued the following statement:


“Following today’s court order, Larry Ellison has eliminated the competition and gained access to the America’s Cup Match, a feat BMW Oracle Racing has never been able to achieve on the water. While we are disappointed with the outcome of this court order and believe that the matter of GGYC’s certificate of challenge wasn’t properly addressed, we have decided not to appeal the decision and we look forward to getting the fight back on the water and meeting BMW Oracle Racing on the start line of a Deed of Gift Match in July 2009,” Masmejan said.

Should Alinghi win the Deed of Gift Match, the Defender is committed to getting the America’s Cup back on track for a world class multi-challenge event in 2011 in Valencia, Spain. “The challengers can be assured that the 34th America’s Cup will be run with the same vision and commitment for a premiere multi-challenge sailing event that they supported in Valencia in 2007,” Masmejan concluded.

This is what Golden Gate Yacht Club/ BMW Oracle has to say:


Justice Herman Cahn of the New York State Supreme Court today issued an order confirming the validity of Golden Gate Yacht Club’s challenge for the 33rd America’s Cup and rejected a late-stage bid
by the defender to re-argue the court’s earlier ruling in GGYC’s favor.

“We are very pleased with this decision. The Court has ruled that our challenge
complied fully with the Cup’s Deed of Gift, and we are now keen to keep moving
forward towards the next regatta,” Tom Ehman, the club’s spokesman said.

In its order today the Court reconfirmed its November 27 decision that GGYC
was the valid challenger for the Cup.

The defender, Societe Nautique de Geneve (SNG), had filed a motion to re-
argue that decision based on a new claim that the American club’s challenge was
invalid under the Deed, but this was rejected by the court.

A Deed of Gift match is being held as the defender made it clear it did not wish to
take up GGYC’s offers made before and after the court’s ruling in November of a
conventional regatta with rules agreed by mutual consent and involving all teams.

For background on the Cup dispute, click here.


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