Jori Finkel uncovers an interesting motivation behind the class-action suit on the artist’s royalty rights. It turns out the lawyer filing the suit was approached by numerous artists after he won a case for Halsey Minor against Christie’s:
Eric M. George of Browne George Ross LLP in L.A. filed the complaints in federal court, charging the auction houses with “failure to comply” with the law by not withholding this royalty for the artists and by routinely going out of their way “to conceal the fact of a seller’s California residency.”
George said the suits had their genesis in an $8.57-million jury verdict he won while representing collector Halsey Minor against Christie’s last year. After that, he began hearing from others who had assorted gripes against auction houses.
“I spoke to a good number of artists,” George said, and he learned about frustrations over their inability to find out when an auction seller was from California and therefore owed the 5% royalty under state law. The law went into effect in 1977.
Artists Sue Two Auction Houses (Los Angeles Times)