Liberty Media Corporation v. Vivendi Universal

U.S. DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
Damages

New York Law Journal

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Judge Shira Scheindlin

Liberty Media sued Vivendi for violating federal securities law and breaching express warranties under New York law (the Liberty action). The jury found Vivendi liable for violating §10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act, and breach of warranty. It awarded Liberty 765 million euros damages for each cause of action. The court entered final judgment in the amount of 765 euros, with prejudgment interest starting Dec. 16, 2001, using the average rate of return on one-year Treasury bills, compounded annually. Deeming the Liberty action inherently federal—and the underlying related class action on which it relied exclusively federal—the court concluded that federal currency conversion rules, not New York law, applied. In entering judgment in euros without conversion into U.S. dollars, the court, discussing Mitsui v. Oceantrawl, found the euro the currency in which Liberty Media bore risks and suffered losses. As to prejudgment interest the court found the parties' case akin to Thomas v. Istar Financial, and noted the Second Circuit's determination that judgments "based on both state and federal law with respect to which no distinction is drawn shall have applicable interest calculated at the federal interest rate."

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