The following case selection first appeared in this week's Center for Art Law newsletter:
• Matter of Richard L. Feigen & Company, 824996. (N.Y.T.C, July 22, 2014) -- J. Winnifred Maloney of the Division of Taxation denied art dealer Richard Feigen sales tax refund claim from 2011 seeking $215,626 on the sale of a forged Max Ernst painting "La Foret" that was sold in 2004. To recover the sales tax, the dealer should have claimed his refund within a three-year window after filing his sales tax return, which closed in 2008. While the dealer argued he should have been able to avail himself of the statute of limitations contemplated by the CPLR 213, and thus have six years, the decision was based on Tax Law §1139(c), which stipulates that financial matters close sooner. The decision upheld earlier determinations of the Division of Taxation's Audit Division and the Bureau of Conciliation and Mediation Services. In other words, this ruling allows the U.S. government to reap financial benefits from unfortunate sales of fake art; whether the risk is to be born exclusively by the dealer may yet be revisited on appeal. Attorney for Feigen, Malcolm Taub, partner at Davidoff Hutcher & Citron.
• Anders Karlsson v. John Leo Mangan III, Art Possible LLC, et al.,2:14-cv-04514-R-JPR (S.D.C.A, Jun. 11, 2014) -- Arizona Plaintiff is seeking damages from residents in New York, Florida, Colorado and California, alleging multiple fraudulent schemes to sell fake artworks of famous artists together with fake authentication and provenance documents. Plaintiff is seeking, among other reliefs, compensatory damages, actual damages, punitive damages and attorney fees. Attorney representing Plaintiff is Meir Westreich.
• Schoeps v. Free State of Bavaria, Case No. 13 Civ. 2048 (JSR) (S.D.N.Y June 27, 2014) -- J. Rakoff denies jurisdiction in a Nazi-era looted art dispute over Picasso's "Madame Soler" portrait.
• Sotheby's v. Kwok (UK, June 2014) -- Auction house sues a client for £3m for failure to pay for purchases.
• U.S. v "Madonna and Child" (June 2014)" -- On June 23, the U.S. Attorney's Office in New York filed a forfeiture action to cease a 13th-century painting that was probably illegally imported into the United States. The painting went missing from a Swiss safety deposit in the late 1980s.
• U.S. v. Mask of Ka-Nefer Nefer, No. 12-2578 (8th Cir. June 12, 2014) -- on appeal, the technical decision to deny the government to amend civil forfeiture complaint was affirmed. Judge Murphy concurred, but he wrote: "While this case turns on a procedural issue, courts are bound to recognize that the illicit sale of antiquities poses a continuing threat to the preservation of the world's international cultural heritage. Museums and other participants in the international market for art and antiquities need to exercise caution and care in their dealings in order to protect this heritage and to understand that the United States might ultimately be able to recover such purchases."
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