Ex-America's Cup sailor sues ISAF, jury over penalty

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Former America's Cup sailor Matt Mitchell is suing the International Sailing Federation and its five-member international jury in federal court, asking that his penalty from the 2013 regatta be vacated.

Mitchell, a grinder from New Zealand, was suspended for the first four races of the 2013 America's Cup for what the jury said was his role in Oracle Team USA's illegal modification of boats in warmup regattas. That effectively ended Mitchell's America's Cup career.

The suit names ISAF and jury chairman David Tillett of Australia, as well as jury members Graham McKenzie of New Zealand, Josje Hofland of the Netherlands, and John Doerr and Bryan Willis of Great Britain.

In an email to The Associated Press, Tillett said he was aware of reports about the lawsuit but that no members of the jury had been served papers.

ISAF spokesman Malcolm Page didn't return an email seeking comment.

Mitchell's lawsuit claims the jury failed to apply legal standards in penalizing him.

Mitchell also is suing his former employer, Oracle Team USA, for $400,000 in damages. He contends top officials with Oracle Team USA knew Mitchell didn't illegally alter a catamaran and yet let a rules-breaking sailor compete in the America's Cup

Mitchell was one of several Oracle sailors punished in the biggest cheating scandal in the regatta's history. Docked two points in the standings, Oracle rebounded from an 8-1 deficit to win eight straight races against Emirates Team New Zealand to retain the Auld Mug. Oracle has chosen to defend the America's Cup in Bermuda in 2017.

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