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Koch refiles suit in ‘Jefferson Bottles’ case

Multimillionaire collector William Koch has refiled his fraud lawsuit against the German dealer Hardy Rodenstock.

The amended suit, which Koch filed in Federal District Court in New York City on 11 February, responds to the court’s dismissal in January of the so-called Jefferson bottles case because the court decided it lacked jurisdiction to try it.

The court said Koch had failed ‘to allege any facts’ indicating that Rodenstock ‘engaged in any purposeful activity in New York.’

In his new petition, Koch elaborates on the role New York played as a venue in the dealings.

He says one of the allegedly counterfeit ‘Jefferson’ bottles that he bought in 1988 came from the Chicago Wine Company and one came from Farr Vintners in London.

The Farr wines were delivered to him in Manhattan, he says.

The suit asserts that Rodenstock was the source of all four bottles. Rodenstock ‘was an integral part of the transaction’ with Farr, the suit says. Koch paid about US$500,000 for all the bottles.

In the new petition, Koch, a Florida resident, asserts that the court has jurisdiction under federal law on two grounds.

First, the controversy exceeds US$75,000 and involves ‘citizens of different states and a citizen of a foreign state.’

Second, ‘Venue is proper in this court,’ Koch argues, because ‘Rodenstock has transacted business in this district, events giving rise to the claims occurred in this district, and Rodenstock is subject to personal jurisdiction in this district.’

Written by Howard G Goldberg in New York

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