• May 21, 2012

Update (May 21, 2012):  The jury reached a verdict in this hard-fought and expensive civil litigation between two top Twin Cities litigation firms and lawyers, awarding the plaintiffs just under $10 million in a dispute that could be boiled down to this question:  did the Minnesota boat companies reject their purchases of fancy Turkish yachts because the yachts were defective or because the buyers got cold feet?  

The jury found the yachts were defective and awarded plaintiffs, represented by Geoff Jarpe of Winthrop & Weinstine, $10 million.  

Questions issued by the jury suggest an engaged, thoughtful, and inquisitive lot (see, for example, here, here, here).

For the defendant, things could have been worse.  Plaintiffs sought a lot more in damages but defense counsel (led by Michael Cockson and Kerry Bundy of Faegre Baker Daniels) persuaded Judge Ann D. Montgomery that plaintiffs were overreaching and claiming more damages than permitted under the law.

(May 7, 2012):  A jury trial is set to begin today before U.S. District Court Judge Ann D. Montgomery (D. Minn.) in Minneapolis in a dispute between Irwin Jacobs-related businesses and a Turkish manufacturer of yachts.  

For those who can spare the time, the trial pits teams of talented Minnesota litigators against one another.  No CLE credit but perhaps far more valuable legal education than 95% of credited programs for civil trial lawyers.  (Additional detail about the case, below.)

(April 27, 2012):  The original 2008 yacht deals at issue in this long-fought litigation were about $10 million in total purchases (plus another $1.3 million in finance charges).  Attorneys’ fees and costs in the lawsuit, started in February, 2010, may have already reached or will soon reach nearly half of that (if not more).  Plaintiff’s own claimed attorneys’ fees and costs “exceed $1.2 million” to date (unclear whether that includes costs for experts and many other costs of litigation, many of which are not recoverable).  That is just one side’s claimed costs and that is before what promises to be an all hands on deck civil trial.

Defendants want a jury to decide whether plaintiff met all of its contractual obligations sufficient to entitle plaintiff to recover for the apparently defective luxury yachts.  The jury trial is set to begin in early May before U.S. District Court Judge Ann D. Montgomery (D. Minn.), presumably to coincide with the start of yachting season.

Original Post (October 7, 2011):  It’s disputes like one that popped up in the Windsor Craft Sales, Inc. v. Vicem Yat Sanayi ve Ticaret AS (pronounced: “the Turkish yacht company”), pending before U.S. District Court Judge Ann D. Montgomery (D. Minn.) (and U.S. Mag. Judge Jeanne J. Graham) that should give college kids thinking about a career as a business litigator at least some pause.

At issue, did Windsor Craft Sales balk at the purchase of Vicem’s luxury yachts (contrary to Windsor’s contractual obligation) because yachts have not exactly been flying off the shelves in our current economic climate or, rather, did Windsor justifiably reject defective Vicem yachts (in which case Windsor, obviously, should not have to pay for them)?


Maybe we should look at the yachts at issue?  Does that make sense?

But the court schedule provided for “fact discovery” followed by “expert discovery” and Vicem sought to have its experts, who did not have to be hired or identified until after fact discovery was over, inspect during “expert discovery.”  Windsor, however, argued that Vicem’s experts could not could not inspect the yachts. Time was up, they argued, and Vicem had lost its chance.

Reminds me of a sophisticated and complex legal argument that I learned at the University of Michigan law school from Professor Larry Kramer.  To some arguments, Prof. Kramer taught us, a proper response is, “C’mon.”

The case is all about the allegedly poor quality of thirty or so yachts and plaintiff wants to keep defendant from having its experts inspect the yachts during “expert discovery”?



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