Judge Slams Jordan for 'Unsustainable' Claim

A British judge blasted Formula One team boss Eddie Jordan on Monday for launching a "contrived and unsustainable" 150 million pound ($241.7 million) damages case against mobile phone giants Vodafone over an alleged sponsorship deal.

Judge Slams Jordan for 'Unsustainable' Claim

A British judge blasted Formula One team boss Eddie Jordan on Monday for launching a "contrived and unsustainable" 150 million pound ($241.7 million) damages case against mobile phone giants Vodafone over an alleged sponsorship deal.

Mr Justice Langley also criticised Jordan for a number of "blatant inaccuracies" in his oral evidence and said that when these were exposed he was "reduced to embarrassed silence" in the witness box.

Jordan launched a claim in London's High Court in June saying Vodafone wrongly pulled out of a three-year deal to sponsor Jordan's cars only to back rival team Ferrari. The trial lasted six weeks until July 29.

At the 11th hour on Friday, however, as the judge prepared to hand down his written judgment in the case, Jordan applied to abandon his claim and offered to pay all of Vodafone's costs at the highest indemnity level.

Jordan also applied to have the judgment kept private, but Langley insisted on making his ruling public, although he delayed it until 4 p.m. (14.00 GMT) on Monday to give Jordan the chance to appeal against that decision.

Sources close to the Jordan team have said that Jordan himself could end up with a legal bill of about three million pounds.

Massive Claim

The massive legal claim, which took into account the 100 million pounds Jordan claimed Vodafone agreed to pay as well as interest and other losses, centred on four words.

'You've got the deal,' were the words Jordan claimed were spoken to him on the telephone by Vodafone's global branding director David Haines.

Jordan claimed these words sealed the agreement for the three-year sponsorship of its Formula One cars on the terms negotiated between the parties in the prior months, even though no written contract was produced.

Vodafone argued that it merely entered into negotiations with Jordan, along with rival racing teams McLaren, Benetton, Ferrari and Toyota, as part of its global branding strategy.

Vodafone also sponsor English premier league champions Manchester United and have a commercial deal with England soccer captain David Beckham. Vodafone announced its current deal with Ferrari prior to the Monaco Grand Prix in 2001.

"The inherent improbability of an agreement of such a nature for payments of such a size being made in such a manner is obvious," Langley said in his ruling. "Jordan's claim was in my judgment plainly demonstrated to be without foundation and false.

"I reject ... that in the course of the 22nd March telephone conversation Mr Haines said anything that could reasonably be, or indeed was taken by Jordan to be, a binding commitment on Vodafone to sponsor Jordan."

He said Haines did not have the authority to bind Vodafone to an agreement.

"I regret to say that I found Mr Jordan to be a wholly unsatisfactory witness. His evidence was in many instances in stark conflict with, and indeed belied by, the documents - often documents of his own making," he said.

"On occasions even Mr Jordan was unable to offer an explanation and was reduced to embarrassed silence by the exposure of blatant inaccuracies in what he was saying.

"The evidence he gave and the claims Jordan makes became more and more contrived and unsustainable."

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