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Center for Art Law Case Law Updates

The following case selection first appeared in this week's Center for Art Law newsletter:
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

Berkshire Museum Lawsuits (Mass. App. Ct. Jan. 16, 2018) After the Massachusetts Appeals Court granted a 30 day injunction to halt the sale of 40 works from the Berkshire Museum, appellate briefs were filed on behalf of the heirs of Norman Rockwell (https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/878449/17-P-1548%20-%20Appellant%20Brief%20-%20to%20file(B2239282).pdf?t=1516804118800&mc_cid=18d2d325e7&mc_eid=8a2eda70d8) and the Berkshire Museum trustees (https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/878449/17-P-1548%20-%20Appellant%20Brief%20-%20to%20file(B2239282).pdf?t=1516804118800&mc_cid=18d2d325e7&mc_eid=8a2eda70d8). Both filings contested the Superior Court's decision to allow the sale of the Museum's artworks to proceed, and reiterated the arguments put before the trial court. As part of the ongoing saga, the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office ("AGO") has been investigating the Museums' planned sale. The AGO recently filed a motion to extend the injunction and have further time to review the plan. On February 1st, the Appeals Court granted the AGO's motion, and continued the injunction until February 5th (http://www.ma-appellatecourts.org/display_docket.php?dno=2017-J-0510&mc_cid=18d2d325e7&mc_eid=8a2eda70d8).

Estate of Chu v. Jacquet, 161429 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Dec. 27, 2017) The plaintiff brought several claims on behalf of her sister's estate against her sister's estranged husband. The plaintiff claims that her sister never meant for her art to remain with the defendant, but passed away before she could update her will. Further, the plaintiff claims that the defendant denied the plaintiff's family access to her artwork for eight months while he improperly stored the artwork in a storage container behind a gas station. As a result, the artwork was "severely damaged." The plaintiff alleges negligence, fraudulent concealment (and, in the alternative, negligent misrepresentation), breach of contract, that she is entitled to an inventory of her sister's artwork in the defendant's possession, as well as an accounting of previously-undisclosed gifts or sales of her sister's artwork by the Defendant. Plaintiff also claims entitlement to damages of at least $500,000. The Answer was filed on January 18, 2018. The Complaint is available here (https://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/fbem/DocumentDisplayServlet?documentId=PTxIR_PLUS_RX1uXPk7hsw9bzYw==&system=prod&mc_cid=18d2d325e7&mc_eid=8a2eda70d8), and the Answer is available here (https://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/fbem/DocumentDisplayServlet?documentId=XevQE/WYkqva9q0u6wa28g==&system=prod&mc_cid=18d2d325e7&mc_eid=8a2eda70d8).

De Pury v. Staechlin, High Court (UK, Eng. 2017) Simon de Pury and Michaela de Pury won their legal battle against Ruedi Staechlin over the commission for the sale of Gauguin's "Nafea faa Ipoipo". Justice Morgan of the High Court in London ruled that the de Pury couple was entitled to a $10 million commission fee as a result of the $210 million sale.

Hearty v. The Bonfoey Company, 1:18-cv-00015 (N.D. Ohio Jan. 3, 2018) Plaintiffs, a married couple, filed suit against the Bonfoey Gallery, the Bonfoey Company's president, and an art dealer in Florida to whom Bonfoey sold the painting at issue. The plaintiffs stored their painting, "Shades of Evening", by George Inness, at their 94-year-old mother's home, after defendant Bonfoey failed to sell the painting under a consignment agreement. Four years later, Bonfoey's president approached the mother, without informing the plaintiffs, had her sign a new consignment agreement, and sent the painting to the defendant art dealer in Florida. The defendant art dealer allegedly had a buyer for the painting when the plaintiffs demanded its return. Consequently, the plaintiffs brought this suit alleging replevin, conversion, intentional infliction of emotional distress, fraud, breach of bailment, civil theft, and civil conspiracy. The plaintiffs seek to enjoin and restrain the defendants from transferring the painting to a third party, and request return of the painting, damages, attorney's fees, and costs of this action. The Complaint is available here (https://www.courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Richard-Hearty.pdf?mc_cid=18d2d325e7&mc_eid=8a2eda70d8).

Hayden v. 2K Games, Inc., 1:17-cv-02635 (N.D. Ohio Dec. 18, 2017) Artist James Hayden filed suit in district court for copyright infringement, violation of the Visual Artists Rights Act, and unjust enrichment under Ohio common law against the creators of the popular video games NBA 2K16, NBA 2K17, and NBA 2K18. Hayden is an Ohio-based tattoo artists who creates original tattoos for high-profile NBA players. He alleges that six of his copyrighted tattoo designs are depicted in the games on the player avatars for LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Danny Green, and Tristan Thompson. The plaintiff seeks damages and enjoinment of the defendant's further use of his tattoo designs. The Complaint is available here (https://www.courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/James-Hayden.pdf?mc_cid=18d2d325e7&mc_eid=8a2eda70d8).

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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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 2, 2018 2:07 PM.

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