ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Monday, November 16, 2009

Contract or Extortion?

Albert_II,_Prince_of_Monaco Last month, we speculated a bit on the relationship between blackmail and contract.  Last week, Am Law Litigation Daily reported on a case in point.  Plaintiff Robert Eringer is suing Prince Albert II of Monaco (pictured) for $60,000 that plaintiff alleges is owed under a contract for investigative work that plaintiff performed in Monaco between 2005 and 2007.  

Plaintiff's complaint can be found here.  The complaint alleges that plaintiff was employed as an intelligence officer to help the Prince root out corruption, organized crime and money laundering in Monaco.  The further details of the complaint -- and there are many -- are very interesting, setting out the individuals and entities, including the Freemasons and "Italian organized crime groups" that plaintiff claims to have investigated, with the help of various state intelligence agencies, including the CIA.  The complaint also details plaintiff's alleged negotiations on the Prince's behalf with the Prince's various illegitimate children.  It's quite a colorful document.

But the Prince's attorney characterizes the lawsuit as a "crude shakedown" and as "blatant extortion." Gosh.  If I were going to extort money from the Prince of Monaco, I don't think $60,000 is the figure I would pick.  But the allegation of extortion certainly adds flair to the drama.  Defendant's motion to dismiss, largely on the grounds that the Prince is a head of state and the foreign sovereign immunity doctrine precludes the suit, can be found here.  The motion also requests that the court strike from the complaint all "immaterial, impertinent and scandalous matter."  Great stuff.

[Jeremy Telman]

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