Breathing space for Ecclestone as New York court dismisses case

Bernie Ecclestone has received some respite in his ongoing legal battles with the news that an action in the USA has been dismissed by the Supreme Court of the State Of New York.

The action was taken by investment company Bluewaters Communications Holdings, which lost out to CVC when the F1 business was sold in 2005. Bluewaters complained that CVC had actually made a lower bid.

The action was taken against Ecclestone, CVC and related companies Bambino, Alpha Prema, Alpha Topco and Delta Topco, along with the BayernLB bank and its former employee Gerhard Gribkowsky.

Bluewaters was seeking $650m in damages, based on claims of “fraudulent concealment, tortious interference, unjust enrichment and aiding and abetting tortious interference and fraudulent concealment.”

The defendants – with the exception of Gribkowsky – subsequently contended in essence that New York was not the right place for the case to be heard.

Bluewaters in turn said that this was a “multijurisdictional action with no single convenient forum available to all parties.”

However, the NY Supreme Court has disagreed, and its judgement says “what it ignores is that this case involves a foreign plaintiff and that all eight defendants are foreign; the crucial events happened in Europe; the bulk of the discovery will happen abroad; the dispute is governed by either English or German law; and at least three more convenient forums are available – England, Germany, and Jersey.”

It remains to be seen whether the case now fades away or Bluewaters does indeed attempt to relaunch it in Europe.

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