Legal News

Court Finds Lawsuit over Thomas Jefferson’s Wine is Time-barred
Download PDF
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

A billionaire collector who sued Christie’s auction house accusing Christie’s of certifying a virtually worthless cache of wine as belonging to Thomas Jefferson, was told on Thursday that his suit was time-barred. William Koch, the founder of Oxbow Group energy company, and brother of businessmen and conservative activists Charles and David Koch, was found to have failed to exercise timely due diligence over the authenticity of the cache of wine he collected from Christie’s.

Thomas Jefferson is known to have been a wine aficionado, and having served as an envoy to France in the late 18th century. So, when four bottles of red wine said to be from 1787 were discovered in Paris with the initials “Th.J.” it was believed the bottles belonged to Thomas Jefferson. Koch purchased the four bottles of red wine in 1987 and 1988 from wine dealer Hardy Rodenstock through intermediaries.

However, by 2000, the appeals court found, reports had begun to surface doubting the origin of the bottles that “would suggest to a reasonably intelligent person that the wine was not authentic.” But Koch, began questioning the authenticity of the bottles only in 2005. The court held Koch’s claim “is therefore time-barred.”


In the lawsuit Koch filed in 2010, he alleged that Rodenstock and Michael Broadbent –  then head of Christie’s wine department, at the time of purchase – acted as associates in committing fraud. Koch alleged that Christie’s had made a deal with Rodenstock to promote him and sell his wines. Koch also alleged that Christie’s had lobbied Jefferson’s Virginia home, Monticello to support the claims for the wine.

The case was first dismissed by U.S. district Judge Barbara Jones, and was received on appeal. Now, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also holds that Koch’s claims are time-barred. Brad Goldstein, a representative for Koch, said referring to Christie’s, “They got away with it … They escaped on a technicality and their behavior warrants closer scrutiny.”

On another front, Koch is pursuing a lawsuit against Rodenstock, where in May a magistrate judge fined Rodenstock for over $600,000 in damages. The order is subject now to the approval of Judge Jones who is overseeing the matter.

Get JD Journal in Your Mail

Subscribe to our FREE daily news alerts and get the latest updates on the most happening events in the legal, business, and celebrity world. You also get your daily dose of humor and entertainment!!


Interesting Legal Sites You May Like




Search Now

Corporate, Mergers and Acquisitions and Securities Associate Attorney

USA-NY-New York City

New York City office of our client seeks corporate, mergers and acquisitions and securities associat...

Apply Now

Business Litigation Attorney

USA-CA-Santa Monica

Santa Monica office of our client seeks business litigation attorney with 1-3 years of experience. T...

Apply Now

Intellectual Property Litigation / Enforcement Associate Attorney

USA-CA-San Francisco

San Francisco office of our client seeks intellectual property litigation / enforcement associate at...

Apply Now

Health Industry Advisory Associate Attorney

USA-CA-Los Angeles

Los Angeles office of our client seeks health industry advisory associate attorney with 3-5 years of...

Apply Now


Litigation paralegal


We are looking to immediately hire a responsible, highly organized, self-motivated litigation parale...

Apply now



Associate Attorney – 7 to 10 Years’ Experience - Dallas/Fort Worth   ...

Apply now

Associate Attorney


Associate Attorney – 3 to 5 Years’ Experience - Dallas/Fort Worth   ...

Apply now

Litigation Attorney


Litigation Attorney   Dallas, TX One of Texas\' largest Personal Injury Law Firms se...

Apply now


To Top