Law Office of Henry B. LaTorraca Civil Trial Attorney

Fighting over Blackbeard's treasure

Investors in California may be interested in learning more about recent developments concerning the treasure of Blackbeard's recovered ship. The vessel was lost at sea for nearly 300 years before it was discovered off the coast of North Carolina by a company searching for shipwrecks during 1996. After making the initial discovery, the Florida-based organization eventually contracted for the rights to media exploitation of the shipwreck and its recovery as well as any studies or historic artifacts linked to the findings.

However, the state of North Carolina has also built a tourist industry around the recovered shipwreck and exhibits in the maritime museum that attract approximately 300,000 people each year. Artifacts from the ship are featured in several state museums, while videos and pictures are featured on their websites online. The Florida-based company is now contending that North Carolina is in breach of contract for posting media of ship artifacts on third-party websites in an improper format.

The company is seeking $7 million for lost revenue and $7 million due to the alleged misuse of the media. The subject of the petition filed with the Office of Administrative Hearing is North Carolina's Department of Cultural Resources. A small amount of actual gold and silver treasure was found, but the ship itself is the asset most valued by both parties. On May 4, the representative for the attorney general reported that the state will file a motion to have the petition dismissed, but the two parties are scheduled to go to mediation on June 29.

Businesses who become embroiled in contract disputes may benefit from consulting a lawyer. Legal counsel can review the contracts for any terms or provisions that could prove to be troublesome for the client's future interests.

Source:ABC News, "Battle Brewing Over $14M Blackbeard 'Treasure'", Martha Waggoner, 05/05/2015

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