'Jefferson bottles' lawsuit thrown out

Rodenstock,koch,jefferson,lafite News Wine News
  • Thursday 17 January 2008

A federal judge in New York City has dismissed multimillionaire collector William Koch's fraud lawsuit against the German dealer Hardy Rodenstock.

Judge Barbara S Jones, ruling in the so-called Thomas Jefferson bottles case, said US District Court for the Southern District of New York lacked 'personal jurisdiction' over the defendant.

Rodenstock had requested dismissal on that ground and others.

But a spokesman for Koch, Brad Goldstein, said that Koch would strengthen his suit's jurisdiction argument and refile the case within a 30-day period that the judge allowed and that began on 11 January.

'This is far from over,' Goldstein said in an interview. He added they feel the evidence is 'overwhelming' that Rodenstock, who collects and sells old and rare wine, committed fraud by attributing to Jefferson bottles of Bordeaux that he sent into the marketplace.

Koch is majority owner of the Oxbow Corporation , an energy firm based in West Palm Beach, Florida.

In his suit, filed last 31 August, Koch said that, relying on Rodenstock information on provenance, he bought one 'Jefferson' bottle from the Chicago Wine Company and three more from Farr Vintners in London, all in 1988.

Koch alleged that a Farr representative had delivered the three bottles to him in New York City.

Judge Jones declared that Koch 'fails to allege any facts' indicating that Rodenstock 'engaged in any purposeful activity in New York.'

After Koch reviewed the findings of experts he hired to investigate the bottles and Rodenstock, he alleged that the German collector had fabricated the 'Jefferson' cache and played a role in engraving the initials ' Th.J.' on the bottles.

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