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When golf superstar Tiger Woods bought a custom-built 155-foot yacht from Vancouver, Wash.-based Christensen Shipyards Ltd. in 2004, he aptly named it “Privacy” — a testament to his desire to escape from the public eye. Now the ship maker is paying Woods $1.6 million to settle claims that it violated the terms of the sale by telling the media that Woods bought the boat. The golfer filed a breach of contract suit against Christensen in federal district court in Florida after pictures of Woods and his new yacht appeared in several boating magazines. Woods initially sought $50 million in damages, claiming the free endorsement for Christensen threatened the value of his endorsement for other products. “What would future endorsers do in light of the fact that somebody allegedly took an endorsement from Woods without payment?” says Woods’ lawyer, J. Douglas Baldridge, a partner at Venable’s D.C. office. “Would they be willing to pay as much?” The terms of the settlement were publicly disclosed May 4, when Christensen’s insurance company, St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Co., filed suit against Christensen, accusing the boat maker of entering into an agreement with Woods without St. Paul’s permission and “attempting to bind St. Paul to a settlement in excess of the policy limit.” Last week, Christensen fired back with a suit of its own against the insurance company. In the suit, filed in federal court in Washington state, Christensen claims St. Paul acted in bad faith by divulging the terms of the settlement.
Gabe Nelson can be contacted at [email protected].

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