Your Browser Does Not Support JavaScript. Please Update Your Browser and reload page. Have a nice day! From the February 2019 Newsletter – Center for Art Law

The Art and Antique Dealers League of Am., Inc. et al v. Basil Seggos, No. 1:2018cv02504 (S.D.N.Y. filed Feb. 1, 2019). The Art and Antiques Dealers League of America brought an action against the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (“DEC”) claiming that the New York State Environmental Conservation Law § 11-0535-A is unconstitutional. The law forbids the selling and trading of ivory articles and the dealers claim that the state law is preempted by federal law which has a broader antiques exception. The court has dismissed the claim.

Patrick Hoelck v. Billionaire Boulevard, Inc. et al., No. 2:2019cv00939 (C.D. Cal. filed Feb. 7, 2019). Photographer Patrick Hoelck is suing a number of companies alleging that they reproduced T-shirts that contained images substantially similar to his portrait of rapper Ice Cube. Complaint available upon request.

Vismanos et al., v. Philippe Hoerle-Guggenheim, No. 2:2019cv01115 (C.D. Cal. filed Feb. 13, 2019). Art dealer Philippe Hoerle-Guggenheim is being sued for fraud after accepting payment for paintings which were never received. The plaintiffs, collectors Liza Vismanos and Randy Rosen purchased three paintings, including a Renoir, and claim Hoerle-Guggenheim has repaid a portion of the funds but has been evasive about the artwork and further payments.

U.S. v. Boone, 18-cr-634 (S.D.N.Y Feb. 14, 2019). Mary Boone, the New York-based art dealer has been sentenced to 30 months in jail for tax evasion. Supporters of Boone suggested house arrest. However, the court determined, in-line with the government’s sentencing memorandum, that Boone should serve time for her actions. Both of Boone’s galleries will be closing with their final exhibitions ending on April 27th.

U.S. v. Gimelson, No. 1:17-CR-00094-TWP-MJD (7th Cir., filed on Feb. 15, 2018). The US government filed an intent to sue Brian Gimelson for tax evasion after his involvement in the sale of a Caravaggio painting. Green Moss Partners, established by Gimelson, sold the painting for approximately $1.2 million and never paid the appropriate taxes. Gimelson pleaded guilty to two counts of attempting to evade taxes, and subsequently filed an appeal before the 7th Circuit on February 15, 2019.

Castillo v. G&M Realty L.P., No. 0:18-CV-00498 (2d. Cir. filed Feb. 22, 2018). In February 2018, the graffiti artists of 5Pointz were awarded statutory damages in the amount of $6.75 million after real estate developer Gerald Wolkoff whitewashed the 45 street art paintings before receiving permits to demolish the buildings on which they were painted just 10 months later. Wolkoff filed an appeal in the 2d Circuit soon after Judge Block’s decision, on the assertion that the court mistakenly found the artworks to be of “recognized stature,” claims that the artworks had “no economic value,” and requests that the case be reassigned to a new judge if remanded, claiming Judge Block’s “impartiality is in question.” Case calendaring has been scheduled for the week of August 26, 2019 to determine the trial date for the appeal.

State St. Glob. Advisors Tr. Co. v. Visbal, No. 650981 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. filed Feb. 25, 2019).The investment firm State Street Global made headlines two years ago when the firm commissioned artist Kristen Visbal to create the ‘Fearless Girl’ statue located in Bowling Green. After discovering that Visbal created replicas for display, State Street Global filed a trademark infringement action against the artist. The motions for a preliminary injunction and restraining order in the “Fearless Girl” lawsuit were both denied, on grounds of lack of jurisdiction by the New York Supreme Court. The company who had commissioned the “Fearless Girl” statue, originally placed in front of the “Raging Bull” on Wall Street, sued the artist for making and selling unauthorized copies of the sculpture. The case has since been transferred to the Southern District of New York.

Gowen v. Helly Nahmad Gallery, Inc., 2019 N.Y. Slip Op. 01350 (1st Dep’t Feb. 26, 2019). In the suit seeking the return of “Seated Man with Cane” (1918), a Modigliani painting allegedly looted by the Nazi-occupied French government, the First Department determined that defendants’ motion to dismiss on forum non conveniens grounds was properly denied in 2018. Because the plaintiff and several defendants maintained residences in New York and the key documents had been translated for the court, the First Department ruled that the defendants failed to meet their heavy burden of dismissal on grounds of forum non conveniens.