Koch loses US$12m in damages

1st April, 2014 by Rupert Millar

US billionaire Bill Koch has lost nearly $12 million in damages he had initially won in a lawsuit against a fellow wine collector.

A jubilant Bill Koch leaves a New York federal court victorious yesterday.

According to the Guardian, a federal judge, Paul Oetken, took the side of Eric Greenberg who had appealed on the grounds that the initial award given to Koch (above) was “exorbitant”.

Oetken said that while the jury’s initial verdict was correct, Greenberg’s conduct, “did not cause particularly egregious harm he was dealing in luxury goods marketed to a sophisticated and wealthy subset of the population.

“The harm was strictly economic, and the victims were far from vulnerable consumers. These facts merit a relatively low award of punitive damages.”

Koch took Greenberg to court in spring 2013 accusing him of selling fake Bordeaux, 24 bottles of which Koch had bought, including 1811, 1864 and 1865 Latour and a magnum of 1921 Pétrus.

The wines were sold to Koch at a Zachys auction in October 2005, Koch and Zachys settled out of court.

In April last year a jury awarded Koch $12.4m in damages and this has now been reduced to $924,321, Oetken also refused to allow Koch to recoup $7.9m in lawyer’s fees that had been accumulated over the three week trial.

One Response to “Koch loses US$12m in damages”

  1. First off – this is really not a loss, it is a detail.

    Bill Koch won a judgement against Eric Greenberg that concluded that Eric Greenberg knowingly perpetrated wine fraud on the Market. Greenberg is a fraud, a person who KNOWINGLY put counterfeit wines into circulation.

    THAT was the victory.

    The huge money the jury awarded was a shock, and testament to the fact that the members of the jury REALLY, REALLY did not like Eric Greenberg, who did a great job of displaying a less-than-pleasant character throughout the trial, or his fraudulent actions. For example, Greenberg was giving Koch, and oddly me, the evil-googley-eyes every chance he got – and the jury saw that. They responded with a shocking punitive response, that was really not expected to be upheld. But they had the right to do it, and they sent a STRONG message.

    Next up: Koch v. Royal Wine Merchants!
    MD

  2. David Boyer says:

    Wealthy people should not be targets of a judge’s misguided opinion any more than impecunious people, and this sentiment seems to come into play in this case. Also, invoking the American Rule (where each party is responsible for their own legal expenses, including attorney’s fees) is truly inequitable in this case. The fact that Mr Koch is wealthy should have no bearing on the outcome of damages, but it does, and to me it smacks of abuse of power by a judge that clearly is playing god. Or maybe he just drinks beer and doesn’t give a damn!

    David Boyer
    http://blog.classof1855.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters

Job vacancies

UK Brand Ambassador - That Boutique-y Gin Company

That Boutique-y Gin Company
Tunbridge Wells, Kent, UK

Senior National Account Manager – Grocery (Craft Spirits)

Maverick Drinks
Tunbridge Wells, Kent, UK

Senior National Account Manager – Wholesale RTM (Craft Spirits)

Maverick Drinks
Tunbridge Wells, Kent, UK

Digital Marketing Manager

Master of Malt
Tunbridge Wells, Kent, UK

Experienced On Trade Sales Person

Borough Wine Imports
London, GB

3 x Business Development Executive

The Lakes Distillery Company Limited
Newcastle head office and nationwide, UK

Editor

Master of Malt Ltd
Tunbridge Wells(Kent)

Sales Account Manager - On-Trade

Berkmann Wine Cellars
Liverpool

Brand Manager

Hallgarten Druitt
Luton, UK

Experienced On-Trade Salespeople Required

Portal Wines and Spirits
London, UK

Purchasing and Sales (Wine Trader)

JF Tobias
London, UK

Sales Account Manager - On-Trade

Berkmann Wine Cellars
Cambridge / Peterborough / Bedfordshire, UK

The Global Merlot Masters 2017

Deadline : 17th April 2017

db Awards 2017

Deadline : 28th April 2017

The Global Organic Masters 2017

Deadline : 14th April 2017

The Global Sparkling Masters 2017

Deadline : 12th May 2017

Click to view more

Global Chardonnay Masters 2016

Now in its fourth year, the competition will identify the best Chardonnay from all around the world in every price range.

Rioja Masters 2016

Now in its fifth year, the competition will recognise and reward the finest Riojas on the world stage.

Fortified Masters 2016

Now in its third year, The Fortified Masters will reward the best fortified wines on offer.

The Global Malbec Masters 2016

the drinks business is proud to announce the inaugural Global Malbec Masters 2016.

Click to view more