Aerospace giant Boeing has won a US District court case against its Russian and Ukrainian partners involved in the Sea Launch floating rocket launch operation. The court ruled on September 28th that Russia’s RSC Energia and Yuzhnoye of the Ukraine had breached their contracts with Boeing by not reimbursing Boeing their share of Sea Launch costs and expenses.
Energia and Yuznoye had counter-argued that Boeing had given non-written assurances that they would not be seeking repayment of the Energia/Yuznoye debts. Boeing had been paying their partners debts and obligations on behalf of the consortium. The judgement, which has to be confirmed, could amount to $356 million.
The Court dismissed the Russian and Ukrainian claims, saying: “There is no evidence in the record that Energia or Yuzhnoye were ‘unsophisticated parties’ during the execution of the Sea Launch Creation agreement,” the court said. “Energia even conceded that it had a legal department. Whether that legal department was well versed in commercial negotiations misses the mark. The point is that, in having a legal department one presumes Energia was aware of the risk in going into a negotiation without legal representation.”