Searching For Sunlight in the New York Courts.


So. Word is that ISAF and SNG came to an agreement about some stuff for the next America’s Cup. ISAF knows what’s in it and says it doesn’t really know why it has to be a secret, SNG and Alinghi obviously know what’s in it but don’t want anyone to know what’s in it. Thanks to the last day in court, BMW ORACLE and GGYC know what is in it, but can’t tell anyone what’s in it.

Naturally there are some people who want to know what’s in it and so, just in case you were having to tune into Judge Judy to alleviate your AC33 courtroom cold turkey the ‘media’ are going back to court to allow the contents of the agreement to be made available in the public interest. The new motion is brought by Cory E. Friedman, the attorney for Movant Inbox Communications – otherwise known as Scuttlebutt.

The motion makes interesting, and amusing, reading. One wonders just how New York Court Judges make decisions – and if humour and flowery prose help. Our favourite line in the document is…

Only public disclose will allow sunlight, the universal disinfectant, to bring out the truth on a matter of great significance to the sailing public.

There’s also some history lessons…

As the parties have built what arguably are the most magnificent sailing vessels since the China clippers that raced for fame and profit from the East Indies to London in the nineteenth century to be the first to deliver the year’s tea crop, it is essential that the sailing public be able to satisfy itself that the sailing rules of the competition will be even handed and fundamentally fair.

It’s a strange example because the racing from the East Indies to London was actually a no-rules out and out war that was certainly not even handed or fundamentally fair – in fact the dirty tricks employed by companies like the East India Company would make the antics of the current protagonists look like a schoolyard sand pit.

And just in case you were worried about the finances of the opposing teams, Friedman suggests that Alinghi and BMW ORACLE could afford to lose a million quid to sloppy accounting saying…

ISAFs 2008 financials show non-investment income barely more than £1 million – little more than a rounding error in the competition and litigation budgets of the parties in this case.

So now we wait and see if a Judge thinks that the sailing public have the right to know…