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Sunken treasure awarded to Spain
Legal News Line ^ | 9-26-11 | Michael P. Tremoglie

Posted on 09/26/2011 12:23:37 PM PDT by Miami Vice

A sunken treasure worth about $500 million was discovered by an American company has been awarded to Spain by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.

The treasure-laden Spanish ship was located off the coast of Gibraltar in 2007. It had been sunk during a naval battle with the British navy in 1804.

Several parties made claim to the treasure. The company that made the recovery, Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc., the governments of Spain and Peru, and 25 individuals who were descendants of the sailors on the ship.

The federal district court, which heard the original case, ruled ...

(Excerpt) Read more at legalnewsline.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Foreign Affairs; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: courts; federalcourt; maritime; ruling; spain; treasure
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1 posted on 09/26/2011 12:23:40 PM PDT by Miami Vice
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To: Miami Vice; SunkenCiv

ping


2 posted on 09/26/2011 12:27:02 PM PDT by Captain Beyond (The Hammer of the gods! (Just a cool line from a Led Zep song))
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To: Miami Vice

Were I in charge of the company I’d put the treasure back where I found it.


3 posted on 09/26/2011 12:27:05 PM PDT by MeganC (Are you better off than you were four years ago?)
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To: Miami Vice

This is bad. It means future treasure hunters will simply melt historic artifacts and sell the gold, without telling anyone where it came from.


4 posted on 09/26/2011 12:28:22 PM PDT by SeeSharp
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To: Miami Vice
Hopefully Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. did not publish the lat/long of the discovery.
They should just up anchor and sail away and let the Spaniards find it again.

No mention in the article of a salvage claim or award.

5 posted on 09/26/2011 12:28:50 PM PDT by grobdriver (Proud Member, Party Of No! No Socialism - No Fascism - Nobama - No Way!)
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To: Miami Vice
The court also referenced a 2001 signing statement by President Clinton which stated, "(the United States) recognizes that title to a United States or foreign sunken State craft, wherever located, is not extinguished by passage of time, regardless of when such sunken State craft was lost at sea."

The ship is Spain's. The treaty doesn't say anything about it's cargo...........

6 posted on 09/26/2011 12:29:06 PM PDT by Red Badger ("Treason doth never prosper.... What's the reason? Why if it prosper, none dare call it treason.")
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To: Miami Vice
wow... did the finders even get paid for the expense they incurred finding the treasure?
7 posted on 09/26/2011 12:29:37 PM PDT by TexasFreeper2009 (Obama = Epic Fail)
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To: Miami Vice

If the courts and treaties give title to treasure and “booty” in perpetuity, then why go to the expense of hunting for treasure? These guys are in it for the money first and foremost, aren’t they? Are all treasure hunters doing this only for altruistic reasons? I doubt it.


8 posted on 09/26/2011 12:30:17 PM PDT by miele man
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To: Miami Vice
That's what you get for trying to play by the rules in today's America. They should have not told a soul, crammed as much as they could into their boat, smuggled it back into the country and sold it in lots small enough not to arouse an suspicion as “Old Spanish Dabloons” that have been in my family for generations.
9 posted on 09/26/2011 12:30:46 PM PDT by apillar
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To: MeganC
I’d put the treasure back where I found it.

I would put it someplace else, rather than the place already announced.

10 posted on 09/26/2011 12:32:50 PM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: Miami Vice

a treaty is a treaty, even if it was signed by a huge dummie.


11 posted on 09/26/2011 12:36:21 PM PDT by JohnBrowdie (http://forum.stink-eye.net)
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To: Miami Vice

The article says the U.S. and Spain have a treaty stating Spanish ships remain Spain’s property. If so, how is this an outrageous situation? Shouldn’t the company have researched the law before spending all that money?


12 posted on 09/26/2011 12:39:13 PM PDT by colorado tanker
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To: MeganC
Were I in charge of the company I’d put the treasure back where I found it.

Not me, I'm greedy and evil. I'd melt the gold down into pebble-sized nuggets; buy some property in Alaska and claim I found gold there. Antiquity be d*mned; if my find is going to be stolen from me, I'll do what I can to keep the treasure I have found.

Dabloons can be traced, gold nuggets are gold nuggets ...

13 posted on 09/26/2011 12:39:26 PM PDT by Hodar ( Who needs laws; when this FEELS so right?)
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To: apillar

What does this case have to do with the rules in America, Spanish ship, Spanish court. International water. Now if it had been on the inter continental railroad, that would have been different.


14 posted on 09/26/2011 12:39:49 PM PDT by org.whodat (Just another heartless American, hated by Perry and his fellow democrats.)
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To: Miami Vice

Treasure hunting never pays. Every moocher and government in the world seems to have an excuse for a share. If I’d have found it, I wouldn’t tell a soul.


15 posted on 09/26/2011 12:40:00 PM PDT by Sarajevo (Is it true that cannibals don't eat clowns because they taste funny?)
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To: Miami Vice

I’d make sure my Odyssey Marine Boat, full of treasure, was “lost” at sea.....


16 posted on 09/26/2011 12:40:09 PM PDT by mo
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To: Miami Vice
Our lovely government was actively working against a US company:

WikiLeaks reveals a secret deal against Tampa's Odyssey Marine Exploration

17 posted on 09/26/2011 12:43:17 PM PDT by FReepaholic (I'm a lumberjack and I'm ok.)
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To: JohnBrowdie
Booty is booty...

Couple of British ships found here on the great lakes. The coordinates are not publicly known.

You don't think those archeaologists in Egypt, Peru, Mexico etc, etc aren't grave robbing....I have this bridge....

18 posted on 09/26/2011 12:43:17 PM PDT by Sacajaweau
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To: org.whodat
What does this case have to do with the rules in America, Spanish ship, Spanish court. International water. Now if it had been on the inter continental railroad, that would have been different.

It was the American Court that handed the treasure back to Spain...

A sunken treasure worth about $500 million was discovered by an American company has been awarded to Spain by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.

19 posted on 09/26/2011 12:45:19 PM PDT by apillar
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To: apillar

The news just keeps getting worse for John Edwards.


20 posted on 09/26/2011 12:50:34 PM PDT by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
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To: Miami Vice

Need somebody old enough or sick enough not to care about the consequences: destroy it.


21 posted on 09/26/2011 12:51:20 PM PDT by Truth29
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To: Miami Vice
Actually the ship was sunk off the southern coast of Portugal.

http://www.napoleon-series.org/military/battles/1804/c_santamaria.html

The action is fictionalized in both the Horatio Hornblower and the Aubrey-Maturin series, with the fictional heroes of each respectively playing a part in the action.

22 posted on 09/26/2011 12:51:37 PM PDT by Cheburashka (If life hands you lemons, government regulations will prevent you from making lemonade.)
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To: apillar; SeeSharp

You guys are exactly right. “Treasure Hunters” are going back underground. What they find will go to “treasure friendly” nations and the only way it ever finds its way into the United States is by the black market.

People will still go find this stuff, but the Spanish will never get any of it.

And the claim by descendants of the crew? Give me a break. The crew never had title to it to begin with. Government of Peru? Peru was owned by Spain when the stuff was dug up.

I have just as valid a claim on the gold as some of these people.


23 posted on 09/26/2011 12:52:33 PM PDT by henkster (Socialists and liberals all want jobs; they just don't want to work.)
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To: Miami Vice
The court also referenced a 2001 signing statement by President Clinton which stated, "(the United States) recognizes that title to a United States or foreign sunken State craft, wherever located, is not extinguished by passage of time, regardless of when such sunken State craft was lost at sea."

So if they stole it from the Mayans (or the Aztecs, or whomever they stole it from), it's theirs forever?

24 posted on 09/26/2011 12:52:34 PM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: apillar

Oh, should never show your stuff.


25 posted on 09/26/2011 12:53:59 PM PDT by org.whodat (Just another heartless American, hated by Perry and his fellow democrats.)
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To: LibWhacker

Same old same old, white man screws indians.


26 posted on 09/26/2011 12:56:31 PM PDT by org.whodat (Just another heartless American, hated by Perry and his fellow democrats.)
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To: Miami Vice
The court also referenced a 2001 signing statement by President Clinton which stated, "(the United States) recognizes that title to a United States or foreign sunken State craft, wherever located, is not extinguished by passage of time, regardless of when such sunken State craft was lost at sea."

Just before Clinton left office? Wonder how much he got paid for this signature?

27 posted on 09/26/2011 1:00:50 PM PDT by SeaHawkFan
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To: henkster

I don’t think the issue should even be decided based on who originally owned it. The homesteading principle provides for re-homesteading of property that has been abandoned. It should simply be a matter of finders keepers.


28 posted on 09/26/2011 1:02:15 PM PDT by SeeSharp
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To: Miami Vice

Search, Salvage, Shut up.


29 posted on 09/26/2011 1:03:02 PM PDT by Hacklehead (Had enough?)
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To: SeeSharp

I’ve read in the past that a warship and its contents, remains the propoerty of whatever country/navy it sailed for, but a merchant vessel is finders keepers.


30 posted on 09/26/2011 1:06:19 PM PDT by wny
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To: SeeSharp

If that’s what it takes for these salvage divers to keep from being robbed blind, then fire up the smelters.


31 posted on 09/26/2011 1:08:22 PM PDT by Dr.Zoidberg (Warning: Sarcasm/humor is always engaged. Failure to recognize this may lead to misunderstandings.)
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To: Hacklehead

Loose lips
lost a sunk ship.


32 posted on 09/26/2011 1:10:33 PM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: org.whodat

Inter continental railroad—your sly humor deserves recognition!


33 posted on 09/26/2011 1:12:19 PM PDT by ntnychik
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To: Miami Vice

Dump it back in the ocean; if Spain wants it, f*** ‘em, they can go get it themselves.


34 posted on 09/26/2011 1:12:41 PM PDT by Jack Hammer
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To: miele man
If the courts and treaties give title to treasure and “booty” in perpetuity, then why go to the expense of hunting for treasure?

Whatever happened to "finders, keepers"

35 posted on 09/26/2011 1:13:31 PM PDT by Go Gordon
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To: Miami Vice

Since in 1804 Spain was an absolute monarchy, shouldn’t the present King of Spain—not the Spanish government—be the rightful owner, as the lineal heir to the 1804 owner?


36 posted on 09/26/2011 1:16:11 PM PDT by CivilWarguy
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To: org.whodat
So if I find $20,000, I should turn it over to the police??

Never happen. I'll spend $1000 a year for 20 years...all cash deals.

37 posted on 09/26/2011 1:20:46 PM PDT by Sacajaweau
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To: Captain Beyond
Well, this ruling has achieved one thing: nobody will openly attempt to salvage any lost wreckage again; it will all be done on the sly.

All such rulings do is make it certain that the next time a salvage is done, the salvage company will make d@mn sure to extract the jewels, then melt down the gold and silver, losing all historical value due to government greed. Afterwards, they will claim the salvage has been a bust, and they will sell the untraceable valuables on the world black market.

After all, the Spanish (or any other government) has abandoned the property long ago. And abandoned property should go to the finder. I personally think it was idiotic to agree to such a treaty. As a minimum, the treaty should have included a sharing clause, requiring the salvager to be be paid 100% of their costs of the salvage and the research, plus a reasonable profit percentage, and then receive a share of the salvage.

38 posted on 09/26/2011 1:21:34 PM PDT by Real Cynic No More (OBAMA!!'s name is all caps as sarcasm to indicate a lack of respect, as he does not deserve it)
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To: wny

“I’ve read in the past that a warship and its contents, remains the propoerty of whatever country/navy it sailed for, but a merchant vessel is finders keepers.”

Yes you are correct, and that is what was at issue in this case. The court found that the shipwreck is the remains of a warship,and title to a warship never passes without express acknowledgement.

Also, the US Court found that it had no authority to arrest the vessel, as it was protected under sovereign immunity.

The decision goes into some interesting history: here is a link:
http://www.ca11.uscourts.gov/opinions/ops/201010269.pdf


39 posted on 09/26/2011 1:25:57 PM PDT by ThirdMate
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To: LibWhacker
So if they stole it from the Mayans (or the Aztecs, or whomever they stole it from), it's theirs forever?

EXCELLENT POINT!

I'm of the opinion that the Spanish Government has no more right to the salvage as do the salvagers. Maybe the next find will find its way back to Peru, and then let the Spaniards try to get it again.

40 posted on 09/26/2011 1:28:16 PM PDT by Real Cynic No More (OBAMA!!'s name is all caps as sarcasm to indicate a lack of respect, as he does not deserve it)
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To: Miami Vice

What’s the opposite of “SHOOT, SHOVEL and SHUT UP”? < /sarc >


41 posted on 09/26/2011 1:45:44 PM PDT by JimRed (Excising a cancer before it kills us waters the Tree of Liberty! TERM LIMITS, NOW AND FOREVER!)
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To: JimRed

Opposite not workee. Find, shovel and shut up is more practical.


42 posted on 09/26/2011 1:47:03 PM PDT by JimRed (Excising a cancer before it kills us waters the Tree of Liberty! TERM LIMITS, NOW AND FOREVER!)
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To: Sacajaweau
So if I find $20,000, I should turn it over to the police??

If it's in the local bodega's deposit bag, yes. If it's in aluminum foil tied up in a plastic bag, no.

43 posted on 09/26/2011 1:52:40 PM PDT by JimRed (Excising a cancer before it kills us waters the Tree of Liberty! TERM LIMITS, NOW AND FOREVER!)
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To: Miami Vice

This is actually pretty stupid.

Several years ago, Britain changed it’s laws, and started allowing anyone that found buried treasure to sell it to museums and/or the government.

The result is that people are all over the place with metal detectors, and are finding heaps of Roman and earlier artifacts.

(Previously, when someone found gold, they would melt it down or try to smuggle it our of the country.)


44 posted on 09/26/2011 2:03:25 PM PDT by G-Bear (Always leave your clothes and weapons where you can find them in the dark.)
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To: Miami Vice
The federal district court, which heard the original case, ruled in favor of Spain, reasoning that a treaty between the United States and Spain guaranteed that sunken Spanish ships would remain property of Spain. The court also referenced a 2001 signing statement by President Clinton which stated, "(the United States) recognizes that title to a United States or foreign sunken State craft, wherever located, is not extinguished by passage of time, regardless of when such sunken State craft was lost at sea."

So if a non-US company had found the treasure, they could keep it?

And Clinton did "signing statements" just like Bush?

45 posted on 09/26/2011 2:09:52 PM PDT by x
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To: Miami Vice
The attorney is more commonly known as David Paul [W]Horan here down island

He is the Denny Crain of the Keys

There is an interesting twist about the backdoor deal uncovered in a WikiLeaks document dump

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Lawyer loses treasure lawsuit
Plans to take case to U.S. Supreme Court
BY ADAM LINHARDT Key West Citizen Staff

A Key West attorney who represented Mel Fisher before the nation's highest court said he's headed for the U.S. Supreme Court again to argue another shipwreck case that could be worth far more than the famed Atocha discovery.

In a case that reads more like a Hollywood script, David Paul Horan is representing several wealthy South American families who claim the 17 tons of silver coins and other treasure worth as much as $750 million, which the Tampa-based Odyssey Marine Exploration salvage company discovered off Portugal in 2007, belongs to them.

WikiLeaks even got into the act, releasing a string of emails in which the U.S. State Department said it would help the government of Spain win the case in exchange for a painting hanging in a Madrid museum that a powerful California family says belongs to them, Horan said.

A federal appellate court ruled Wednesday that the Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes was a military vessel, which means the Odyssey salvors, who claimed the treasure for themselves, must turn over the fortune to Spain.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals decision was a "terrible loss," Horan said, comparing it to the magnitude of Mel Fisher's discovery of the Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de Atocha off Key West.

"This is a bigger case than the Atocha, as far as money is concerned," Horan said.

'Stripped the resting place'

The Mercedes was sunk in 1804 by British warships while it was sailing back from South America with more than 250 people on board. She laid on the seafloor undisturbed until May 2007, when Odyssey salvors announced they had recovered treasure and taken it back to Tampa.

Spain took legal action, claiming the cargo belonged to the government. A federal judge sided with Spain in June 2009. Spain argued it never surrendered ownership of the vessel or its contents.

As is so often the case in treasure lawsuits, the legal tumult was just beginning, as Odyssey lawyers appealed, arguing that the Mercedes was a commercial trade vessel, not a military ship, and therefore Spain had no claim to the fortune.

Spain said U.S. courts are bound by international maritime law and the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, which essentially states that foreign warships on military missions are exempt from U.S. court jurisdiction. Generally, U.S. warships and those of her allies that are sunk in battle are protected from salvors, as many governments view them as sacred mass grave sites.

James Goold, a Washington, D.C., attorney who represented Spain, called the appellate ruling a "complete victory for Spain on every point we considered important."

"A U.S. treasure company, in secrecy and without authorization, stripped the resting place of a Spanish Navy frigate and more than 250 of her crew of coins to sell to collectors," Goold said Friday. "What they did is no different than if some foreign company came to the United States and tried to remove wedding rings from the remains of a ship like the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor."

Horan and the Supremes

Horan is one of the nation's most sought-after legal experts in sea salvage law, a result largely due to his successful Supreme Court argument on behalf of Mel Fisher in the mid-1980s. He chose to represent some 24 wealthy South American families as part of a larger legal strategy.

"I took the families because I certainly understood that Spain could make an argument and then we would have to fight the entire issue of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act," Horan said.

"The Odyssey was going to fight that battle. My way of looking at it was this: Of all the cases I've had in the last 30 years, the vessel and the cargo have always been considered separately."

Horan's clients were one of three interests with irons in the fire surrounding the Mercedes, and he was quick to point out that technically, the appellate court ruled that the Mercedes was a military vessel. That's the important distinction.

"What the court did was rule that it is a military vessel on a military mission and that it was not in commerce, and that is totally wrong," Horan explained.

"The court didn't rule on who owns it," he added.

Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, Spain gets the treasure. For now.

Horan is preparing to argue before the U.S. Supreme Court that there is legal precedent contrary to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals decision. He named previous rulings involving the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and the court's 1998 ruling in a dispute between the state of California and salvage company Deep Sea Research.

In that decision, the Supreme Court ruled that Deep Sea Research was granted the exclusive salvage rights to a 133-year-old shipwreck, despite California's assertion of ownership of the wreck.

"Right now, I'd say we've got a 50-50 chance," Horan said of his confidence going forward. "But you're talking to someone who thought he had a 75 percent chance of winning in the 11th Circuit and we found out how that went."

WikiLeaks and Nazis

Horan's case took a bizarre turn when he said he discovered that the nonprofit, whistle-blower website WikiLeaks had posted documents suggesting that the U.S. State Department had an agreement with Spain that it would help get the treasure back to Spain in exchange for a painting, Horan said.

The painting in question, Horan alleges, is the oil painting "Rue Saint-Honore, Apres Midi, Effet de Pluie," painted by the French impressionist Camille Pissarro that was seized by the Nazis during World War II. California resident Claude Cassirer claims the painting belonged to his grandmother, who had it hanging in her Berlin parlor in the 1920s, before she fled the country due to her Jewish background, according to legal documents.

The painting reportedly was seized by the Gestapo, later purchased by several collectors over the years, and now resides at a government-operated museum in Madrid.

"The family in California is extremely wealthy and big-time supporters of the Democratic Party," Horan said.

Upon learning that information, Horan filed a motion to strike a brief with the 11th Circuit court on the basis that the United States did not disclose that information as the trial progressed.

"They said, 'We do not comment on leaks,' " Horan said of the U.S. government. "That's a direct quote. That was it. That's all they said."

The 11th Circuit court never addressed Horan's motion, he said.

Whether that information will play any role in future legal proceedings remains to be seen, Horan said.

Goold expects lawyers will try to delay the 11th Circuit court's decision, but he was confident that Spain will be the final victor.

"The odds are overwhelmingly high that this decision represents the final chapter in this case," Goold said.

.

46 posted on 09/26/2011 2:15:34 PM PDT by Elle Bee
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To: Miami Vice
established wreck sites with valid claims are used and salted with artifacts from other wrecks to avoid this mess and maximise the values

.

47 posted on 09/26/2011 2:22:23 PM PDT by Elle Bee
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To: Go Gordon

Well, apparently according to the 11th Circuit, it is “losers, weepers”.


48 posted on 09/26/2011 5:26:52 PM PDT by miele man
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To: Hodar

Imagine you stuck your cash in the trunk of your car. Then one day, you crashed your car, and were killed. Your next of kin doesn’t know about the cash in the car, and they can’t raise him anyway, and the car is towed to a junk yard.

Then someone searching around the junk yard finds the bag, with the identifying information for your kin, printed on it.

Who gets the money?


49 posted on 09/26/2011 7:15:32 PM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: CharlesWayneCT
“Who gets the money?”

Tell us more about the person who was killed and how good of a person they were?!

50 posted on 09/26/2011 7:23:07 PM PDT by HereInTheHeartland (I love how the FR spellchecker doesn't recognize the word "Obama")
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