United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
ALGENON L. MARBLEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on the Williamson
Plaintiffs' motion for discovery (Doc. 1072) and motion
to set a trial date (Doc. 1073). For the reasons that follow,
and in the interest of judicial comity and judicial
efficiency, the Court DENIES both motions
while the Recovery Limited Partnership receivership
proceeds in state court.
case has a long, interesting, but, by now, tortured history.
Federal and state courts from Ohio and up and down the
Atlantic Seaboard have recounted many of the facts in various
opinions over the years. As this Court recently noted:
The three-minute version of events is that Defendant Thomas
G. Thompson discovered a shipwrecked steamer, the S.S.
Central America, in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of
North Carolina; raised funds to finance a salvage operation
(the ship was transporting gold to New York); actually
salvaged some of the gold; did not pay his crew or his
investors; disappeared with substantial assets; was located
after a long search; has been held [and remains] in criminal
and civil contempt of this Court; and has not provided
complete information as to the whereabouts of some or all of
the misappropriated assets.
Williamson v. Recovery Ltd. P'ship, No.
2:06-cv-292, 2016 WL 4920773, at *1 (S.D. Ohio Sept. 15,
2016) (discussing the “initial find” and salvage
from the Central America).
post-script to that three-minute version of events is that
many of Thompson's former employees (the
“Williamson Plaintiffs”), who were “hired
to assist in the location and recovery of the Central
America . . . as well as the company from which Thompson
rented a side-scan sonar . . . . brought suit against
Thompson and the board of directors of Columbus Exploration,
LLC . . . and numerous business entities, including Recovery
Limited, Columbus-America, and Columbus Exploration.”
Williamson v. Recovery Ltd. P'ship, 731 F.3d
608, 616 (6th Cir. 2013). The Williamson Plaintiffs
“demanded monetary relief for breach of their
non-disclosure agreements, conversion of the recovered gold,
and breach of fiduciary duty, ” and they ultimately
ended up in this Court by virtue of its Admiralty
Jurisdiction. See id.
2006 until now, the Williamson Plaintiffs' suit wound its
way through various stages of pre-trial litigation and
interlocutory appeals to the Sixth Circuit. See Id .
at 616-17; see also, e.g., Williamson v.
Recovery Ltd. P'ship, 826 F.3d 297, 298-99 (6th Cir.
2016). Although this suit once stood on the doorsteps of
trial, the defendants' July 2011 appeal to the Sixth
Circuit regarding this Court's ruling on various motions
for summary judgment forestalled matters until October 2013.
See Williamson, 731 F.3d at 608, 629. On October 13,
2013, the Sixth Circuit issued an opinion affirming this
Court's summary judgment decision, in the process
remanding matters for final adjudication. Id.
Judge Sargus's prior ruling, the following issues remain
for a bench trial:
1) Under the doctrine of laches, have Defendants been
prejudiced by Plaintiffs' delay in filing suit or was any
2) Should the remaining Defendants be held jointly liable on
the Lease Agreement and NDAs either on a theory of direct
liability or through alter ego/veil piercing/reverse veil
3) Did Columbus Exploration assume the liabilities of RLP or
should it be otherwise liable for the obligations of RLP as
4) Did Thompson's group earn profits or a net recovery
(as those terms are used in the NDAs and Lease Agreement)
from the ...