Todd Tholke v. Sailing Vessel Energy Team AC45 Litigation Successfully Resolved, Energy Team Thanks Tholke

Posted by in Announcement, Maritime Law on March 11, 2013

ELG is pleased to announce that it has confidentially resolved all claims arising out of Todd Tholke v. Sailing Vessel Energy Team AC45, Civ. No. 12-05162, Northern District of California.  The case involved local sailor Todd Tholke’s salvage and rescue of the Energy Team AC45, a 45-foot twin-hulled America’s Cup World Series racing catamaran.  Unbeknownst to Energy Team, the AC45 broke free from its mooring off the San Francisco shoreline in the early morning of September 30, 2012, and sailed itself across San Francisco Bay where it grounded itself on the rocks of Treasure Island.  ELG’s client Todd Tholke first spotted it.  Mr. Tholke alerted the U.S. Coast Guard, and upon learning the Coast Guard would not respond because no lives were at risk, and at the Coast Guard dispatcher’s approval, successfully salvaged the derelict catamaran, pulling it from its precarious position on the rocks, preventing further damage to its fragile hull, and delivering it safely into the hands of America’s Cup officials.  The racing yacht, after some quick repairs, was thereafter able to participate in the ensuing America’s Cup World Series regatta.

In November 2012, the court validated Mr. Tholke’s salvage claim by denying Energy Team’s Motion to Vacate the Arrest Warrant and ordering Energy Team SARL to post a bond with the court to regain possession of its racing yacht while continuing to dispute Mr. Tholke’s salvage award.

This February, the parties reached an agreement resolving the matter.  On February 8, 2013, the parties issued the following joint Press Release, wherein Energy Team SARL publicly thanked Todd Tholke for his successful salvage services:

The owners of the America’s Cup World Series team, Energy Team SARL, and San Francisco sailor Todd Tholke, jointly announce they have confidentially resolved all claims and counter-claims in the matter of Todd Tholke v. The Sailing Vessel Energy Team AC45, Civ. No. 12-05162, Northern District of California. Energy Team thanks Todd Tholke for salvaging its vessel.

Mr. Tholke is pleased with the settlement terms, including Energy Team’s acknowledgment of the valuable salvage services he provided to their highly valuable racing yacht.  Mr. Tholke stated, “I was happy to resolve the matter well short of trial.  I never intended to create negative publicity around the America’s Cup, or engage in a lengthy litigation battle, but I felt it was appropriate to seek a just award under well-established salvage law so that others would be encouraged to take the same risks I took in acting promptly to save a fragile racing yacht in substantial peril, where the Coast Guard was not going to do so.  This settlement validates my salvage efforts, vindicates my claim, and allows me to get on with my life.”

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