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Center For Art Law Case Updates

The following case selection first appeared in this week's Center for Art Law newsletter:

USA v. Roohparvar, No. 3:16-cr-00096-CRB (N.D. Cal. Mar. 8, 2016). -- A Saratoga resident, Shahram "Ron" Roohparvar, has been charged with illegally selling art pieces constructed from elephant ivory (a practice banned since 1976). This is not Roohparvar's first run-in with the law; he has previously faced other federal criminal charges for money laundering.

Sotheby's, Inc. v. Mao et al., 652283/2015 (NY Sup. Jun. 25, 2015). -- Sotheby's is suing Christophe Mao and the gallery he owns, Chambers Fine Art LLC. Mao has failed to pay over $2.1 million that he borrowed from Sotheby's after signing a Secured Revolving Loan and Sale Agreement.

Max v. Moskowitz et. al., No. 162953/2015 (NY Sup. Dec. 22, 2015). -- Mary Max, wife of artist Peter Max, filed suit against his agent, ALP, Inc. (a company that runs the NJ warehouse where Ms. Max claims she stored her paintings), and two of Peter Max's children for stealing 82 paintings. The paintings were stored in a warehouse, and Ms. Max claims they are worth more than $4.2 million. The family has recently been embroiled in a public scandal covered in New York tabloids.

Fisher v. Petr Konchalovsky Foundation et al., No. 1:15-CV-09831 (SDNY Dec. 17, 2015) -- Richard Fisher of Malibu is suing the Petr Konchalovsky Foundation, saying that when he bought the oil painting "Still Life with Grinder" in 1991 from Sotheby's, the organization declared it an authentic work by Konchalovsky, a Russian artist. In 2012, Fisher decided to sell the work and asked Sotheby's in New York to auction it, but the Foundation claimed that it wasn't authentic. Fisher alleges that the Moscow-based Foundation did not examine the work, dated 1920, and instead relied on photos.

Sam Francis Foundation v. Christie's, Inc. (9th Cir. 2014), cert. denied, 136 S.Ct. 795 (Jan. 11, 2016) -- The Supreme Court declined to hear an artists' resale royalty suit against auction houses like Christie's, Sotheby's and eBay. Artists like Chuck Close argue that these auction houses are failing to pay royalties, which the artists claim is in direct violation of the California Resale Royalties Act of 1976. New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler is the lead proponent of the ART Act, which will directly address the royalty issues if passed by Congress.

Mlinar v. United Parcel Service Inc. et al., No. SC14-54 (Fla. 2016) -- The Supreme Court of Florida recently reinstated an art theft lawsuit between artist Ivana Vidovic Mlinar and three defendants - Pak Mail, a South Florida packing store, the United Parcel Service Co. (UPS), and Cargo Largo, UPS's lost goods contractor. The suit alleges that these parties stole Mlinar's work, profited from the theft of her paintings, used her name or likeness without Mlinar's authorization, and, finally, that the defendants violated Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

The Center for Art Law strives to create a coherent community for all those interested in law and the arts. Positioned as a centralized resource for art and cultural heritage law, it serves as a portal to connect artists and students, academics and legal practitioners, collectors and dealers, government officials and others in the field. In addition to the weekly newsletter (http://cardozo.us2.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=78692bfa901c588ea1fe5e801&id=022731d685), the Center for Art Law subscribers receive updates about art and law-related topics through its popular art law blog (http://itsartlaw.com/blog/)and calendar of events (http://itsartlaw.com/events/). The Center for Art Law welcomes inquiries and announcements from firms, universities and student organizations about recent publications, pending cases, upcoming events, current research and job and externship opportunities. To contact the Center for Art Law, visit our website at: www.itsartlaw.com or write to itsartlaw@gmail.com.

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