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Discussion Starter #1
July 23, 2014 -- African Diaspora Maritime Corporation (“ADM”) and Golden Gate Yacht Club (“GGYC”) hereby jointly announce that ADM and GGYC have mutually agreed to settle the action titled African Diaspora Maritime Corporation v. Golden Gate Yacht Club, Index No. 653419/2011, filed in the Supreme Court of the State Court of New York, County of New York. In its complaint, ADM alleged (among other things) that GGYC failed to consider in good faith ADM’s application to compete in a Defender Series for the 34th America’s Cup (“AC34”). GGYC denied ADM’s allegations. The parties have now settled their dispute.

ADM is fully committed to continuing its efforts to participate in future America’s Cup races. GGYC, which will again defend the Cup in the 35th America’s Cup, is fully supportive of ADM’s stated mission, which is: (a) to participate in local, national, and international competitive sailing events and maritime activities, including, but not limited to the America’s Cup; (b) to train young African-Americans as competitive race sailors; (c) to teach the math and science behind hi-tech sailing as well as the role of African-Americans in maritime history; and (d) to serve as a role model by raising awareness of sailing not only in the African-American community but also in America generally.
Settled! | Latest News - African Diaspora Maritime
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Maybe I don't understand something. Aren't America's Cup participants supposed to represent countries?
The participants are either challengers or the defender.

Any yacht club that meets the requirements specified in the Deed of Gift has the right to challenge the yacht club that holds the Cup. If the challenging club wins the match, it gains stewardship of the cup.

AmericaOne - America's Cup Deed of Gift
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Found this on SA.

Explaining the Challenger of Record Concept



Published on July 30, 2014 by shoplifter



Interest in the America’s Cup grew rapidly during the 1960’s, with multiple foreign clubs expressing their desire to challenge. A casual agreement on who might challenge, and in what order, was adopted but proved to be awkward in practice, so when multiple challenges were received for 1970, rather than select one yacht club to compete as challenger in the match, by mutual agreement it was established that several prospective challenger candidates could compete against each other for the right to sail in the America’s Cup match against the Defender.



This was the first time that candidates from multiple countries vied against each other on the water for the chance to challenge. It was hoped that having several challenger candidate race in a competitive selection process would help improve challenger performance, much as the New York YC’s standard practice of defender trials had done historically.



The Challenger of Record (COR) arrangement, as it has come to be termed, allows one foreign YC to challenge (becoming the initial COR), that Club agreeing to the terms of the match with the defender and subsequently allowing the winner of the challenger selection series to step into the place of the COR. Prior to 1983, the challengers conducted the challenger selection regatta under their own management and at their own cost. Starting in 1983, Louis Vuitton sponsored the challenger selection, awarding the Louis Vuitton Cup to the ultimately selected challenger. Technically, the eventual winner of the challenger selection process becomes the final Challenger of Record, and win or lose in the match, goes down in history as the Challenger for that America’s Cup match.



Since 1970 there have been 13 matches with multiple challengers, with 12 teams serving as the initial COR. Including the upcoming 35th Defense of the America’s Cup scheduled for 2017, the initial COR has resigned four times; three times also withdrawing from competition (1974, 2013, and 2017); one time remaining a competitor (1992).
 

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The participants are either challengers or the defender.

Any yacht club that meets the requirements specified in the Deed of Gift has the right to challenge the yacht club that holds the Cup. If the challenging club wins the match, it gains stewardship of the cup.
I fully understand the workings of the America's Cup (at least as much as anyone does). As near as I can tell ADM is a US-based organization. Based on my understanding of the Deed of Gift ADM is not eligible to challenge the Cup until the Cup is again held by a non-US defender.

They have no more standing than the NYYC or AYC against GGYC.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I fully understand the workings of the America's Cup (at least as much as anyone does). As near as I can tell ADM is a US-based organization. Based on my understanding of the Deed of Gift ADM is not eligible to challenge the Cup until the Cup is again held by a non-US defender.

They have no more standing than the NYYC or AYC against GGYC.
As far as I know, ADM's eligibility on the basis of the issue you raise did not come up in any of the court hearings. Surely Ellison's lawyers would have pounced on that if it were a legitimate issue?
Copies of at least some of the court documents are at African Diaspora Maritime, and all can be retrieved from the PACER system if you are familiar with it. And if you can stand it, Sailing Anarchy has forum threads on the case extending back years.
 

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As far as I know, ADM's eligibility on the basis of the issue you raise did not come up in any of the court hearings. Surely Ellison's lawyers would have pounced on that if it were a legitimate issue?
Copies of at least some of the court documents are at African Diaspora Maritime, and all can be retrieved from the PACER system if you are familiar with it. And if you can stand it, Sailing Anarchy has forum threads on the case extending back years.
The documents linked from ADM are self-serving. PACER does not make all material available. Although more complete, LexisNexis similarly doesn't have all the discussions in chambers, full depositions, or negotiations.

I do see that ADM was challenging Oracle to be the defender in the next AC. Given recent cost of mounting a challenge much less a defense their objection to a $325k deposit seems to make their statement that they have adequate financial resources to mount a defense with a reasonable chance of winning somewhat specious.

It looks to me like ADM played the race card with no expectation of winning simply for publicity. My own take on the settlement (with no insight to particulars) is that GGYC agreed not to make fun of ADM in exchange for not dragging the issue through the courts.

Surely someone at SA has made the same observation.

Some group that given their resources should be focused on community sailing wants to defend the Cup that someone else won without enough money to even start building a boat? Absurd.

They would have no better chance than a bunch of SailNetters deciding to launch a challenge.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
McDermott got involved with a different sort of rights battle when it took the case of African Diaspora Maritime Corp. and ultimately helped to win the reversal of a New York court’s decision to dismiss a breach of contract claim against Golden Gate Yacht Club, the current trustee of the America’s Cup.

ADM, which helps train young African-Americans as competitive racing sailors, alleged the club had unfairly rejected the group’s application to compete as a defender candidate against Oracle Team USA in the lead-up to the 34th America’s Cup in 2013.
ADM said the club had falsely asserted that the group had lied about recruiting a leading yacht designer to design its ship and that it didn't have the resources to compete in the race, even though teams normally seek funding after their applications are accepted.

Partner Andrew B. Kratenstein, who handled McDermott's appeal of the dismissal of the complaint, said the case offered a unique opportunity, as America’s Cup litigation tends to focus on battles among the billionaires typically involved in the sport.

“This is the only America’s Cup case I know of where you had a nonprofit group trying to break into the America’s Cup, suing essentially for that opportunity,” Kratenstein said.

”It’s a great pro bono case because it’s very different from the cases we usually do,” said associate Audrey Lu, who worked on the case from the beginning of the firm’s involvement.

The Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division, First Department, revived the case, ruling that the protocol governing the conduct of the races was a valid contract offer ADM had accepted by submitting its application and fee and that Golden Gate was required to exercise good faith in exercising its discretion to accept or reject the application.

ADM settled the case in July but lost its opportunity to vie for a spot in the 2013 races. Having its challenge accepted by the yacht club would’ve given the group a “golden ticket” to take to potential donors, Kratenstein said.

“It was a potentially barrier-breaking thing,” Kratenstein said. “These kinds of things generate a lot of support from people who want to see different groups who haven’t been historically represented in that particular sport get a chance.”

ADM seeks to open up sailing to more participants, Kratenstein said, noting that few Americans actually compete on America’s Cup boats.

“When we talk about diversity, we’re not just talking about racial diversity, it includes diversity in terms of means,” Kratenstein said.
Pro Bono Firm Of 2014: McDermott Will & Emery - Law360
 
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