Three years ago, Andrew Lloyd Weber was on the verge of selling his Picasso, “The Absinthe Drinker,” when the heirs of Paul von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy sued to reclaim the painting which had been sold under duress. Julius Schoeps, the heir, also went after two other Picassos held by MoMA and the Guggenheim. Those cases were settled when Federal Judge Jed Rakoff gave Schoeps standing to sue.
This week, New York State’s Court of Appeals upheld rulings that denied Schoeps’s standing to sue in the Lloyd Webber case. Why? The Am Law Litigation Daily explains:
The Lloyd Webber case was initially before Judge Rakoff as well, but the foundation’s lawyers from Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison argued successfully that it belonged in New York state court because neither Schoeps nor the foundation is American. In the MOMA and Guggenheim case, Judge Rakoff came to a different conclusion on Schoeps’s standing to sue, finding that a decades-old New York case bound him to deny the museums’ summary judgment motion.
The state appellate court expressly rejected Rakoff’s reasoning on Schoeps’s standing. The decision that he relied on, the appeals judges wrote, was one written paragraph that dated back 60 years and had never been tested on appeal. “It cannot support the proposition that common law claims in New York may be pursued without first complying with the procedural requirements,” the opinion says.
Paul Weiss Wins Appellate Ruling for Lloyd Webber Foundation in Nazi Art Case (Am Law Litigation Daily)