Please select your home edition
Icom AUS Leaderboard AUG 2019

America's Cup - ISAF and Cup Jury summonsed by California Court

by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World .com on 9 Sep 2015
David Tillett second from right, with the other members of the 34th America’s Cup Jury (from left John Doerr, Graham McKenzie, Josje Hofland, and Bryan Willis) ACEA /Gilles Martin-Raget
The International Sailing Federation, the controlling body for world sailing, and the five individuals who made up the International Jury for the 34th America's Cup have been served with a Summons by a San Francisco Court.

The action has been brought by Matthew Mitchell (NZL) a former Oracle Team USA crewman who was one of five to be penalised by the International Jury after conducting an investigation and Hearings into allegations of boat tampering in the America's Cup World Series.

The papers were filed with the San Francisco Court last Friday.

The taking of civil court legal action against the ISAF and a Jury, is unprecedented, and could have deep ramifications in the sport - where ISAF certified and approved officials are involved in all forms of adjudication, on a voluntary basis, and usually without any insurance.

While disputes are common-place over Jury decisions, they have not been previously subject to civil court litigation of this nature.

The Summons lodged on September 4, with the US District Court for the Northern District of California based in San Francisco, names the International Sailing Federation, and five International Jury members, chairman David Tillett (AUS), Graham McKenzie (NZL), Josje Hofland (NED), John Doerr (GBR) and Bryan Willis (GBR/MAS). Four of the Jurors are the most experienced in the ISAF stable, having served at Olympic Games and America's Cup level going back into the late 1980's. All but McKenzie (a former partner of a leading NZ legal firm) are International Judges certified by the ISAF.

The claim centres around the premise that the Jury is a panel of five Arbitrators and seeks to have the Arbitration Award vacated.

It is also claimed that the Jury had ignored the law of scienter, which requires that an offending party must have knowledge of the 'wrongness' of an act or event prior to committing it.

Mitchell claims that he did not know that the changes to Kingposts and other modifications were illegal. He assumed because they were on a support team work-list, that they had been approved by the team's rules adviser and were, therefore, legal. The boats involved were AC45 wingsailed catamarans and were strict one-designs, and could not deviate from the class rules in any way.

The Jury decision in the measurement tampering, across four regattas, was announced only a few days before the start of the Match for the 34th America's Cup between Oracle Team USA and Emirates Team New Zealand.

Hearings were conducted, after an investigation by two Jury members, under the provisions of Racing Rule 69 Allegations of Gross Misconduct.

Two Oracle Team USA crew were suspended from racing. Wingsail trimmer Dirk de Ridder (NED) was excluded for the entire match. Mitchell (NZL)received a four-race exclusion. However, he was on the water in a chase boat. Oracle Team USA were fined $250,000 by the Int Jury.

De Ridder received an 18-month suspension from the sport after an Appeal to the Court for Arbitration for Sport. No further action was taken against Mitchell or any of the other crew by their national authorities who have post-event jurisdiction in such cases.

In February 2015, Mitchell issued a media release saying that he had filed complaints with the ISAF because the International Jury had not taken action against another former OTUSA crew member, Simeon Tienpont (NED) for his part in the boat tampering incidents.

A second OTUSA team member Joe Spooner has also taken action in the same Court over a claim relating to his termination from the team, when he claimed he had a signed contract running through to the 35th America's Cup in Bermuda.

Several sets of exhibits were filed with the Summons - several have previously been in the Court domain. However, a confidential contract between the International Sailing Federation and America's Cup Regatta Management was also included.

The contract reveals that the ISAF charged ACRM 800,000Euros for Jury services covering the America's Cup Match and its preliminaries, including the nine regattas that made up the America's Cup World Series.

In addition to their payment from the ISAF, the Jurors received a premium economy airfare to each regatta, accommodation and 30Euro as a per diem allowance - the travel and accommodation expenses are similar to the standard for all ISAF Jury members working on regattas from Optimists upwards. They were required to be available for eight days for each ACWS regatta (plus travel time) - anticipated to be 16 in number, and then be based in San Francisco from July to September 2013. The time requirements are such that it would be highly disruptive to most business/regular income and the Jurors were compensated for this loss of income, over the three year period.

Air travel costs were estimated at 145,000Euro over the three-year period.

America's Cup Regatta Management, a company, registered in St Helier, Jersey in the Channel Islands was also required to provide Professional Indemnity Insurance Cover of 10,000,000Euro for the International Jury.

There is no mention in the Summons of Matthew Mitchell seeking to make a claim under this policy if his case were successful, however if this were the outcome it would be expected that some financial compensation would be paid.

The ISAF and individual Jury members have 21 days to respond to the Summons.

A Hearing is scheduled for early December 2015, but may be settled with some form of Mediation beforehand.

Nanni Diesel Australia 2020 - FOOTERSydney SailGP 2020 - JAN FOOTERZhik 2020 AnneMarieRindom FOOTER

Related Articles

Less than a month to go to GC32 Oman Cup
The big players are set to return to the battlefield The big players are set to return to the battlefield in one month's time when high speed foiling catamaran competition gets under way at the GC32 Oman Cup, first of five events comprising the 2020 GC32 Racing Tour.
Posted today at 10:53 am
Clean sweep for British SailGP Team in Sydney
Ainslie takes his team to three wins in three races on day 1 Seven teams and one clear winner as Ben Ainslie and the Great Britain SailGP Team presented by INEOS kick start SailGP Season 2 with a bang. New to the championship this season, the five-time Olympian certainly showed he meant business.
Posted today at 9:48 am
Gone flying with il Duce at SailGP
Day One SailGP images from Andrea Francolini who was out on Sydney Harbour as Season 2 kicked off Day One SailGP images from Andrea Francolini who was out on Sydney Harbour as Season Two kicked off...
Posted today at 7:49 am
ILCA Laser Radial Women's Championship overall
Marit Bouwmeester wins fourth Laser Radial World Championship as winds die in Melbourne It may have been a case of "saved by the wind" for Rio Olympic champion, Marit Bouwmeester. The three-time world champion led by 24 points over night but saw her margin trimmed to just two points after the first race of the final day.
Posted today at 7:04 am
RORC Caribbean 600 first finisher interviews
The first boats have arrived back on the docks in Antigua Interviews with some of the early arrivals, including Multihull and Monohull Line Honours winners, and provisional class champions in the 12th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600.
Posted today at 7:01 am
Sydney Harbour Regatta fleet surges past 150
The overall numbers clmb for the multi-club event As overall numbers for the multi-club run Sydney Harbour Regatta pass the 150 mark, Middle Harbour Yacht Club's sailing office is busy responding to requests from subgroups within the larger fleet, and tweaking the on-water program.
Posted today at 6:36 am
The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines, consistently very good
Building up to the 2020 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines 18ft Skiff team of Aron Everett, Courtney Mahar and Charlie Gundy are not only the big improvers in the Australian 18 Footers League's 2019-2020 Season fleet
Posted today at 5:20 am
Tasmanian Optimist State Championship preview
So far the event has attracted nearly 50 entries The River Derwent will come alive this weekend with young sailors contesting the 2020 Tasmanian Optimist State Championship and Green Fleet Regatta.
Posted on 27 Feb
SSANZ Round North Island: Wired first home - Leg 2
The fastest time race leader, Wired Racing (Angus Small/Rob Bassett) has taken line honours on Leg 2 The fastest time race leader, Wired Racing (Angus Small/Rob Bassett) has taken line honours on Leg 2 of the Evolution Sails Round North Island Race.
Posted on 27 Feb
U.S. SailGP Team ready for redemption in Sydney
Americans will line up against Australia, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Japan and Spain For the United States SailGP Team, the past five months of training, playbook development and team building will be put to the test as SailGP's Season 2 kicks off tonight in Sydney Harbour.
Posted on 27 Feb