Grossman LLP Secures Total Victory In Second Circuit Appeal
Involving Recovery of Stolen Painting01/03/2023In late 2020, after two-plus years of litigation in multiple jurisdictions and a three-day bench trial in the Southern District of New York, Grossman LLP obtained a win in a title dispute over a painting that was stolen from a major corporate art collection decades ago and replaced with a skilled forgery. Today, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that victory.
Following the trial, the artwork’s most recent possessors—collectors who purchased the work in 1993 from a Manhattan art gallery—appealed the trial court’s ruling on several grounds. Today, a panel of three Second Circuit judges issued its decision completely affirming the trial court’s ruling. The appellate court confirmed that our client’s claim to the painting was timely under New York law; that the painting’s possessors could not successfully invoke the so-called “entrustment” provision of the Uniform Commercial Code to claim title to the painting; and that there was no basis to disturb the trial court’s conclusions that the corporation exercised reasonable diligence in investigating the theft of the painting.
The case serves as an important reminder that New York law provides significant protection for the victims of art theft, and that where the original artwork has been stolen, the good faith of subsequent possessors will not be sufficient to defeat the true owner’s title claim.
Art Law Blog