Red Bull has pulled out of a plan to help adventurer Felix Baumgartner carry out a record-breaking parachute jump from the stratosphere.
The decision follows a lawsuit from a man who says he approached Red Bull with a similar idea six years ago, discussed the project with senior officials and was assured that he would have a part in it. Later, he says, he was cut out completely.
Daniel Hogan filed a complaint back in April, seeking an injunction to stop the stunt as well as damages and a share of the profits so far.
Baumgartner was intending to jump from a high-altitude balloon nearly 23 miles up. He would almost certainly have become the first man to break the sound barrier without the protection of a vehicle – a feat nearly achieved fifty years ago by Air Force officer Joe Kittinger. Baumgartner was to have worn a specially-pressurized spacesuit during the five-minute fall, which was to have taken place over New Mexico later this year.
Red Bull says that the idea was hardly original, and that Hogan has no particular claim on it.
“Despite the fact that many other people over the past 50 years have tried to break Colonel (Ret.) Joe Kittinger’s record, and that other individuals have sought to work with Red Bull in an attempt to break his record, Mr. Hogan claims to own certain rights to the project and filed a multi million dollar lawsuit earlier this year in a Californian court,” says the company in a statement.
“Red Bull has acted appropriately in its prior dealings with Mr. Hogan, and will demonstrate this as the case progresses. Due to the lawsuit, we have decided to stop the project until this case has been resolved.”