By Karen Freifeld
NEW YORK, Jan 22 (Reuters) - A New York judge dismissed a
lawsuit against the Golden Gate Yacht Club brought by an
African-American sailing group that sought to compete for a
chance to represent the United States at this year's America's
Oracle Racing, which is backed by billionaire Larry Ellison,
won the cup on behalf of San Francisco's Golden Gate Yacht Club
in 2010 and is the defender of the cup. Other candidates are
allowed to apply to become defender, and Golden Gate must
African Diaspora Maritime Corporation applied to compete
against Oracle and was rejected, and in 2011 it filed a lawsuit
against Golden Gate in New York State Supreme Court.
African Diaspora claimed the yacht club breached its duty to
review its application in good faith. It sued for $1 million in
damages and sought an order directing the yacht club to accept
Golden Gate said in court papers it gave African Diaspora
Maritime an opportunity to show it had the necessary resources
to put together a competitive team but failed to do so.
Supreme Court Justice Barbara Kapnick sided with the yacht
club. In a Jan. 18 decision tossing the lawsuit she said that
African Diaspora "has never competed in the America's Cup, nor
has it indicated that it has ever competed in any regatta or
that the purported members of its 'syndicate' have ever even
been on a boat together."
African Diaspora Maritime Executive Director Charles
Kithcart said in an interview he was disappointed by the judge's
"The judge is saying, 'I agree, I don't think they can beat
Oracle.' Oracle is not unbeatable," Kithcart said. "Now they
have no competition."
"Golden Gate Yacht Club is gratified by the court's decision
and looks forward to concentrating on sailing," said attorney
Philip Bowman of Boies, Schiller & Flexner, who represented the
Oracle will defend the 34th America's Cup for the club in
September in San Francisco Bay.
The case is African Diaspora Maritime Corporation v. Golden
Gate Yacht Club, New York State Supreme Court, New York County,
For Golden Gate Yacht Club: Philip Bowman of Boies, Schiller
& Flexner LLP, who represented the club.
For ADM: Banks Brown for McDermott WIll & Emery.
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