Jackson's Lawyers File Motion for 'Summary Adjudication'

Attorneys for Jess Jackson have filed a motion for summary adjudication in the California winemaker's lawsuit against bloodstock agent Emmanuel de Seroux and his Narvick International agency.

The motion, executed Oct. 12 in the San Diego division of California Superior Court, where the original suit was filed more than 13 months ago, seeks $8,574,348 -- representing triple the amount Jackson alleges he was defrauded by de Seroux in at least 25 private bloodstock transactions. It seeks a court date of Jan. 12, 2007.

The motion doesn't involve any public auction or farm purchases made on behalf of Jackson and doesn't affect the other defendants in the lawsuit: Bruce Headley, Brad Martin, Frederic Sauque, Fernando Diaz-Valdes, or Buckram Oak Holdings.

The motion was made on grounds claiming "undisputed facts" that de Seroux, acting as Jackson's agent, secretly kept the difference or shared with some of the other defendants between the amount he paid for horses and the amount he charged Jackson for those horses.

It further claims de Seroux failed to provide Jackson with a written bill of sale that included actual purchase prices. California's Business and Professions Code Section 19525 requires both a bill of sale in bloodstock transactions as well as a written agreement between buyer and seller for the payment of a commission or fee to an agent. Anyone found in violation of Section 19525 is subject to paying treble damages.

Supporting documents filed with the motion detail a series of purchases made by de Seroux for Jackson, along with wire transfers from Jackson to de Seroux's agency and from that agency to the sellers. The 25 transactions allegedly required Jackson to pay $10,985,000 to de Seroux, even though de Seroux is alleged to have paid $8,126,884 for them, a difference of $2,858,116, or 35%.

Among the "undisputed material facts" claimed by Jackson's attorneys is a September 2003 oral agreement between de Seroux and Jackson that de Seroux would receive a 5% commission on private purchases, to be paid by the seller. In a declaration from Jackson, he stated that "in his very first private horse transaction on my behalf, involving a horse named Rhythm Mad, de Seroux received a $31,761 commission from the seller and kept the $175,000 difference between the false $850,000 purchase price invoiced to and paid by me, and the true $675,000 purchase price paid to the seller."

Daniel Platt, de Seroux's California-based counsel, said the motion for summary adjudication is "based on false allegations. In it, Jackson claims there were only about 25 Narvick transactions to try to paint an inaccurate picture by picking and choosing individual transactions in a vacuum. The truth is that, of the more than 160 Narvick transactions, Narvick did not receive more than the agreed up 5% overall. Additionally, Jackson still owes Narvick money for services rendered."