Harry Winston Diamond (HWD) reports that C. Fipke Holdings, or Fipco, has commenced an action in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice against BHP Billiton Canada (BHP) and certain of its affiliates, the company and its subsidiary, Harry Winston Diamond Mines, as well as against Dr. Stewart Blusson and Archon Minerals. The claim alleges that the offers made by BHP Billiton to Fipco do not comply with Fipco's pre-emptive rights under the joint venture agreements for the Ekati Mine, and that the company was complicit in this alleged non-compliance. The parties to the litigation have entered into an agreement which provides for the trial and any appeal to be conducted on an expedited basis, with a view to obtaining a final ruling no later than April 15. The agreement provides that, if such ruling is in favor of Harry Winston and BHP Billiton, Harry Winston's purchase of BHP Billiton's joint venture interests in the Ekati Mine may be completed before May 15, without re-triggering the pre-emptive right provisions of the joint venture agreements. Harry Winston and BHP Billiton believe that the claim by Fipco is entirely without merit.