“Drunk Justice:” William Koch wins his lawsuit…but not all that money

I suppose I should develop a fairness doctrine for Sidebar. That is, if I’m going to sneer at lawsuit tales that the Daily News today called, “This is a story from The People With Too Much Money file,” I should report when the people I sneer at, gulp, win their morally repulsive lawsuits.

Beyond that, I don’t want to comment. Here’s the link: Billionaire William Koch awarded $12M for phony wine case  – NY Daily News.

Oh, well, maybe I’ll just give you this, which came at the end of the piece.

On Thursday night, Koch said he celebrated the first of his victories at the four-star restaurant Daniel with a 2005 Montrachet burgundy that ranges from $300 to $1,600, a 1975 d’Yquem (a sweet white wine from Bordeaux) — and a 1970 Pétrus that sells for $6,000.

“I told them, ‘If it’s not real, I’m going to sue,'” Koch joked. “They said, ‘Oh, no, it’s real.'”

Isn’t he a jolly winner, that good ole Koch Bro?

CHEERFUL UPDATE 4/2/14. Well yeah but… I’ve pointed out previously that huge jury awards are not necessarily the end of a case, and that a huge jury award will often be challenged by the defendants. And substantially reduced by a judge.

That’s what just happened to William Koch. As the Daily News wrote in “Corked! $12M wine penalty cut by $11.3M [yes, you read those numbers correctly because I typed them correctly]”

Billionaire William Koch…saw $12 million in punitive damages – awarded to him in a New York counterfeit wine trial – reduced by a judge Monday to just $711,622.

Manhattan Federal Judge Paul Oetken called the payout awarded by a jury last year “exorbitant.” Jurors gave Koch [New York jurors?! Giving a Koch anything?? Really, you must all spend some time in deep contemplation] the staggering sum after he sued over 24 bottles of bogus Bordeaux he bought from wine collector Eric Greenberg.

“This harm was economic in nature and none of its targets – neither Koch not other potential buyers at auction – were financially vulnerable,” Oetken said.

“We never went into this thinking it was a money-maker,” Koch spokesman Brad Goldstein said.

Well, that’s a relief!

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