I don’t know Steve or his crew but I hate to beat on a guy who’s winning line honors and taking American veterans aboard to do it. Still, having seen the results of frivolous litigation in the past, I have to call out legal bullshit when I see it. And at this admittedly early point in litigation, this one looks like straight-up bullshit. Worse yet, it’s bullshit that could hurt a pro sailor’s ability to make a living. On the other hand, if Meheen can prove what he alleges, Brady is a straight up bandit and could easily catch a major ban from World Sailing.
The Crux of Meheen vs. Brady is the claim that the former Beau Geste is too fast for her rating, and that Brady allegedly lied about the rating and the boat’s modifications not just to get Meheen and his Misfits team to buy her from Karl Kwok for around $1.3M; Meheen also claims that ’someone’ lied to the IRC office when obtaining an endorsed cert for the big canter.
Seems like a typical rich-guy dispute, but there are a few things that just scream “bullshit”. It’ll take too long (and cost too much) for me to review this properly and I’ve got to get to my office to review something dull like a construction loan agreement so I can feed my kid, so here are the basics on why I think this lawsuit won’t go anywhere at all.
1) On page 6, Meheen claims that his purchase of the Botin was “based on…misrepresentations by Brady” but strangely, not a single one of said ‘misrepresentations’ was included as evidence. Meheen’s lawyer instead claims that Brady’s alleged lies were made in writing “by providing Plaintiffs with the written IRC Certificates.”
2) Similarly, while Meheen’s lawyers included a copy of the IRC cert, they tellingly did not include a copy of the Purchase Agreement for the boat. Typically, such an agreement would include all sorts of important terms deeply relevant to the dispute; things like “Representations of Seller” that the buyer relies on, and typically a clause that says something like “This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement of the Parties, and supersedes all previous written or oral agreements or understandings among the Parties.” A Purchase Agreement would usually also provide for a legal forum or dispute resolution process – none of which we’ve seen. If the PA doesn’t include some or all of this stuff, it could easily provide the basis of a malpractice claim for any attorney that Meheen relied on.
3) More importantly, logic and reason seem to go against Meheen’s claim because no one spends a million and a half dollars without researching and investigating the purchase – and if they do, they probably deserve what they get. Did Botin lie to Meheen? Or did he never speak to him? That would definitely be negligent. Did whatever yard that did the work lie to Meheen? Same deal. Did the owner, Karl Kwok, lie to Meheen? Did the SA Forums lie to Meheen? ‘Cause we’re pretty sure the mods to Beau Geste weren’t secret at all…
4) Gavin was selling the boat on behalf of his long time employer, billionaire Karl Kwok, and in every English-speaking country, the misdeeds of the employee are always attributed to the employer. Knowing that Brady doesn’t have the $2.3M that Meheen is seeking, why wouldn’t they sue the deep pocketed man who would be legally responsible for the allegedly fraudulent sale? Especially when he is surely required to indemnify (or pay for) Brady’s defense in this case? Yeah, it smells fishy to me too.
5) Meheen’s complaint stops short of actually accusing Brady of lying to IRC. It’s something of a walkback of the other claims he makes. This could be waffling or it could be left open, but it looks to me like an attempt to limit Meheen’s liability for libel against Brady. If this suit goes anywhere, IRC will likely need to cough up all their correspondence with Brady, Botin, and/or Kwok…and all will be laid bare.
There are other flaws with this lawsuit, but I want to emphasize that I have zero clue on how the actual sale or negotiation went down. There’s some chance – albeit small, in my opinion – that Meheen’s claims are 100% accurate, and that we’ll see documentary evidence of it when discovery begins in the case.
It’s more likely that Meheen is pissed off that the boat’s rating sucks, feels swindled, and he wants someone to pay – or at least to take a haircut on the deal. And maybe, rather than spending 5 or 6 figures fighting it, Kwok will just send Meheen a check. But with Brady’s reputation on the line, Meheen might actually have to see this thing through.
But unless there’s much better evidence to be discovered or revealed, it looks to this lawyer like he gonna lose.
Read the whole thing here, but remember that my analysis is worth exactly what you paid for it.