Court orders Phelps to pay $24m to former boss and winemaker

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  • Thursday 12 February 2009

Top Napa Valley winery Joseph Phelps has been ordered to pay its former CEO and its ex-winemaker more than US$24m for their share of the company.

Tom Shelton, former president of the winery died of brain cancer in July 2008 and the court award of more than US$12m (£8m, €9m) will go to his widow, Laurie, and his five children. Former Phelps winemaker Craig Williams was awarded US$11.85m (£8.3m, €9.2m).

An arbitrator originally made the US$24m (£16m, €18m) payout in September last year following a dispute over shares in the winery.

Phelps contested the findings, arguing that the ruling had been made using incorrect standards of law and evidence.

But San Francisco Superior Court Judge Peter J Busch upheld the decision. He also awarded Shelton and Williams more than US$2m in legal costs.

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