A federal judge has confirmed that an arbitrator's ruling in Europe against California owner-breeder Jerry Jamgotchian is valid and that Jamagotchian owes Ireland's Coolmore Stud more than $400,000 (310,578 Euros) in stud fees accrued in the 2007 and 2008 breeding season.
The May 11 ruling by John A. Kronstadt, U.S. District Judge for the Central District of California, denied Jamgotchian's argument that he was never properly served notice of the arbitration process, which was conducted by Samuel Sheppard of the European Breeders Fund. The judge also denied Jamgotchian's assertion that Sheppard, who was appointed arbitrator by the Thoroughbred Breeders Association in accordance with the nomination contracts for the stallion services, had a conflict of interest in the case because Coolmore nominates stallions to the EBF program.
Jamgotchian said he did not open the numerous emails sent to his email address or receive any of the 14 demand letters mailed to the post office box that is listed as his address.
“Respondent contends that he uses multiple email accounts and that his email has an aggressive spam filter that automatically blocks unknown and foreign addresses,” the judge noted. Also, “Respondent contends that he is often traveling for extended periods of time and accepts his mail at his home office address as opposed to his P.O. Box address.”
Notices of the arbitration were also sent to Ronald Caswell, who Jamgotchian initially indicated was his legal representative. In his ruling against Jamgotchian, the judge noted, “Respondent contends that Caswell was never his attorney for this dispute such that any attempts to notify Respondent through Caswell would not be suffieient to put him on notice.”
The communications “served as sufficient notice of both the selection of the arbitrator and the arbitration process,” the judge wrote.
The judge ruled that the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, passed by Congress in 1970, applied in this case.
“For all of the foregoing reasons, the Court GRANTS Petitioners' Verified Petition and confirms the…Arbitration Awards,” the judge's ruling says. “As the prevailing party, Petitioners may submit a bill of costs and file a motion for attorneys' fees. The Court directs Petitioners' counsel to submit a proposed judgment in accordance with this Court's Order within fourteen days.”
James Morgan of Walnut Creek, Calif., represented the various entities affiliated with Coolmore: Linley Investments, Lynch Bages Ltd, Orpendale, Springcon, and Wynatt. Jamgotchian's counsel was Diana L Courteau of El Sengundo, Calif.
Jamgotchian did not dispute that he signed contracts to breed to a number of Coolmore stallions, including Holy Roman Emperor, Ad Valorem, Excellent Art, Rock of Gibraltar, Hurricane Run and Dylan Thomas.
At one point, after the fees were past due, Jamgotchian sent an email dated June 9, 2009, to Coolmore's Christy Grassic and Aisling Cross that read: “Christy & Aisling: As mentioned you both have my personal guarantee that both Coolmore and Ashford (Coolmore's Kentucky division) will be paid all that is due as soon as possible. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to work with both of you and will never let you down. Thank you for your continuing cooperation. Jerry.”
When the Paulick Report first disclosed the dispute, Jamgotchian said: “I always pay my bills. There are charges that are not part of the deal, and there are offsets that I have against them. It's going to be a long, bitter litigation…They've got a long ride ahead of them and it's going to be really bumpy.
“Let them bring the case over to California and we'll litigate it the right way. I'll be more than happy to pay them what they are owed after my rights and offsets and claims against them have been fully litigated in Los Angeles Superior Court.”
To view the court ruling, click here.
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