What do you buy when you’re the man who has everything? How about four bottles of wine that supposedly belonged to Thomas Jefferson? Then, 20 or so years later, you begin to suspect that perhaps you’ve been had, and that the hands that wrote the Declaration of Independence never actually touched those musty bottles of merlot. Then you file a lawsuit against the auction house that sold it to you.
At least, that’s what you do if you’re billionaire William Koch. He purchased the bottles of 1787 wine at Christie’s auction house in 1987 and 1988. A district court threw out Koch’s lawsuit against Christie’s in 2010, ruling that the statute of limitations was up on his claim of fraudulent concealment.
Now, the case is in the 2nd Circuit, and Christie’s is arguing that Koch’s claim that he didn’t learn about issues relating to the wine’s credibility until 2005 is untrue.
The 2nd Circuit is questioning the timeliness of Koch’s case and whether the statute of limitations is indeed up, but no one is asking the most important question: How does it taste? Like freedom, I bet.