A U.S. District judge in New York has dismissed the lawsuit filed by energy tycoon and wine collector William Koch against German wine dealer Hardy Rodenstock. The case centers on the now-legendary Jefferson bottles, several 18th century first-growth Bordeaux supposedly once owned by President Thomas Jefferson. Koch began purchasing the wines nearly 20 years ago, and filed suit against Rodenstock last summer.
Initially, Rodenstock refused to defend himself, arguing that the court had no jurisdiction over him. A summary judgment was later handed down, but the 15-page order written by Judge Barbara S. Jones and filed Jan. 11, reads that Koch's "allegations are insufficient to warrant this court's assertion of jurisdiction over [Rodenstock]." Koch has 30 days to refile, and his spokesperson, Brad Goldstein, confirmed that Koch will refile in the same court, as well as file separate actions in other courts.
"We feel the evidence is overwhelming, and I say that with all sincerity. It is overwhelming," said Goldstein. "[The judge] wanted to tighten up the New York jurisdiction issue. This is the first inning of a nine-inning game."
Goldstein said that even though Koch's first Jefferson-bottle purchase was made through the Chicago Wine Company, the bottle was delivered in New York. "New York is the locus for the wine-auction market, and continues to be the center for the wine-auction trade," said Goldstein. "And we feel that [Rodenstock] has severely damaged the rare-auction wine market. And it is larger, from what we've discovered, than just the Thomas Jefferson bottles. We get calls from collectors all around the world. And it's sad. It's just sad. "
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