Thursday, September 3, 2009

Will America's Cup legal disputes ever end?


If you’re a law student and wondering what would be a lucrative field to enter, give serious consideration to becoming a lawyer for the Swiss or American teams fighting over the rules for the next America’s Cup. It’s looking like this dispute will carry you into retirement.

American billionaire Larry Ellison has filed new legal actions accusing Ernesto Bertarelli, his Swiss billionaire counterpart, of willfully misinterpreting and changing long-established rules in an effort to disqualify Ellison’s BMW-Oracle trimaran from even sailing in the America’s Cup scheduled for Feb. 8 at Ras al Khaimah on the Persian Gulf.

BMW-Oracle, which represents San Francisco’s Golden Gate Yacht Club, also wants the New York Supreme Court, the trustee of the 158-year-old sailing competition, to make public some secret rule changes that the Bertarelli’s Alinghi team, representing the Societe Nautique de Geneve (SNG), obtained from the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) for the 2010 America’s Cup.

The new American legal challenges will probably result in the racing rules for the next cup, and the rules that determine if a boat is legal, continuing to move through the court system and eventually being decided by the full New York State Court of Appeals some time this winter. Read all of it...