March 18, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) A federal judge has ordered marshals to release America's Cup champion Oracle Team USA's souped-up catamaran, which was seized on March 9 after fired sailor Joe Spooner sued the syndicate.

Judge Joseph C. Spero issued the order Wednesday, one day after telling attorneys for the two sides to meet during the next two weeks to discuss a settlement. Spero allowed the lawsuit to proceed.

Claiming wrongful termination, Spooner had the boat seized in an attempt to satisfy a lien. He is seeking at least $725,000.

Spero concluded that Spooner's contract was not sufficiently tied to a particular boat to support a lien.

Spooner, a grinder from New Zealand, was fired in January after he asked for a raise to help cover the cost of relocating to Bermuda, where Oracle has chosen to defend the America's Cup in 2017.

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