Accent Delight International Ltd. et al v. Sotheby’s et al, 1:18-cv-09011-JMF (Oct. 2, 2018). In another international and voluminous case, now against Sotheby’s, the Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev claims that Swiss businessman and art dealer Yves Bouvier defrauded him in connection with the purchase of a world-class art collection, to the tune of approximately one billion dollars. The Complaint alleges that Sotheby’s aided and abetted the fraud and is available upon request.
Meaders v. Helwaser et al., No. 1:18-cv-05039 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 8, 2018). This on-going case is awaiting response from the court on whether a standing stabile by Alexander Calder was lawfully sold to Helwaser Gallery in 2016. A relative of Phyliss P. Meaders was given the Calder as a gift and she argues that her partial ownership of the work entitles her to damages when it was sold by her bother Paul Mead III without her knowledge. Complaint and answer available upon request.
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Gregory Michael Priore, No. CP-02-CR-0012634-2018, (Pa. Commw. Ct. filed Oct. 15, 2018), and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. John Ezra Schulman, No. CP-02-CR-0012635-2018, (Pa. Commw. Ct. filed Oct. 15, 2018). Recently, a Geneva Bible, also called a “Breeches Bible,” dating back to 1615, was discovered at the Leiden American Pilgrim Museum in the Netherlands. The Bible was among 400 items allegedly stolen by Gregory Priore, an archivist at the Carnegie Library in Pittsburg. Dr. Jeremy Bangs, the Dutch museum’s director, acquired the Bible from dealer John Schulman in 2015, in preparation for an upcoming exhibition. Bangs was contacted by investigators asking for the Bible’s return, after which he contacted the Dutch police, who worked with the American Embassy and the F.B.I. Art Crime Team to transport the Bible back to the U.S. Both Priore and Schulman are being prosecuted.
Kapoor v. National Rifle Association of America, No. 1:18-cv-01320 (E.D. Va. filed Oct. 23, 2018). London-based sculptor Anish Kapoor reached a settlement with the NRA in a copyright lawsuit for including his famous “Cloud Gate” (2004), a/k/a the Chicago “Bean” in a video attacking the media. The case, originally filed in Illinois, had been transferred for lack of personal jurisdiction, because the artist had no link to Illinois other than the existence of the sculpture, and the NRA is headquartered in Virginia.
Viktor v. Top Dawg Entertainment LLC, No. 1:18-cv-01554 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 24, 2018). A New York federal judge refused to give hip hop artist Kendrick Lamar a partial win against a visual artist’s claims that the musician ripped off her artwork for the soundtrack of the movie “Black Panther”. The case will move forward to discovery. Full opinion here.
Alexander v. Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. et al., No. 3:18-cv-00966 (S.D.Ill. Oct. 24, 2018). The defendant, a video-game company, moved to dismiss the case brought by a tattoo artist against them, where the artist complains that her work, a tribal tattoo placed on the skin of WWE wrestler Randy Orton, was illegally reproduced in the video-game. This is not the first suit concerning athletes’ tattoo reproduced in video-games [find the case of LeBron]. Complaint available here.
Artemus USA LLC v. Paul Kasmin Gallery, Inc., No. 156295/2018 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co.). The Paul Kasmin Gallery is currently being sued by Artemus, a company that allows collectors, art dealers and other professionals to leverage and monetize artworks through sale-leaseback arrangements and art-secured loans. They allege that the gallery backdated and falsified invoice in striking a 2016 deal to purchase the piece. Amended complaint available upon request.