Graeme Lofts reports from Melbourne
After three days of argument and aggressive cross-examination of Champagne Jayne by lawyers representing The Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC), the opposing parties have agreed overnight to mediation during the first week of March next year in an attempt to reach a settlement. If a settlement is not reached, the case will resume in Melbourne’s Federal Court on 10th March 2015, so the Champagne Jayne case on hold.
Graeme's reflection on the case:
'On reflection, I am wondering why the CIVC has chosen to attack and destroy Jayne Powell’s reputation and business rather than take advantage of her knowledge of Champagne, her ability to educate wine consumers about Champagne and her impressive credentials. I have no doubt that as Champagne Jayne, Ms Powell has had a positive impact on the Champagne brand in both Australia and the UK. Why not work with her rather than against her? In this way both sides would be winners.'
I entirely agree with Graeme's measured reflection on this case. I cannot imagine that their apparently single-minded pursuit of Champagne Jayne has won the Champenois many friends. Instead I suspect that for many in the wine trade the CIVC and by extension all Champagne producers this pursuit has shown them as cold hearted bullies prepared to crush one of their friends and advocates. Whether this reprensible and thuggish behaviour has a reasonance outside the wine trade is another question.
I wonder who instigated this offer of mediation? Did Champagne (CIVC) blink I wonder? Did they decide that they hadn't landed a KO blow on Champagne Jayne and could lose the case? It is surely likely that if Jayne Powell had offered mediation the CIVC would have taken this as an admission of defeat.
Back in March 2014 the court had ordered mediation but it proved unsuccessful. I've no idea of what was offered but I suspect that the CIVC played hardball as they have through out this case. It would have been in Jayne's interest to find an honourable compromise. Hopefully the mediation in March 2015 will be meaningful and a solution will be found.
Many thanks once again to Graeme for his fine reporting on the case.