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Carter Ledyard Obtains Decision Protecting Good-Faith Claim to Ownership of Artwork

On January 8, 2020, Carter Ledyard obtained dismissal of tort claims brought against its client the Lachaise Foundation, concerning the foundation’s objections to the proposed sale of a monumental sculpture entitled “Garden Figure” by Gaston Lachaise owned by the foundation, but lost when it was spirited away from the Salander-O’Reilly Galleries in 2007. The sculpture re-surfaced with a dealer who disclosed his plans to exhibit the sculpture and offer it for sale for $1.2 million on behalf of a purported buyer from Salander, a trust controlled by Dina and David Reis. The Reis trust responded by bringing tortious interference and fraud claims against the foundation. On January 8, 2020, Justice Louis L. Nock of the New York State Supreme Court dismissed those tort claims for failure to state a claim, denied a cross-motion by the Reis trust for a declaration that it owns the sculpture, and allowed the dispute over ownership to proceed. CLM partner Judith Wallace and associate Madelyn White represented the foundation.

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