Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lawsuit Involving Art Work Stolen by Nazis

Carol Farquhar sent me a very interesting article from Texas Lawyer dated 10-25-2010. I cannot seem to get the pdf of the article on the blog, so I am going to quote from Carol's excellent synopsis for non-lawyers.

It is a ruling from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals regarding the ownership of art confiscated by the Nazis.

From Carol: " Essentially someone in Louisiana is claiming ownership of a painting someone else alleges was confiscated from her family by the Nazis.

The current owner inherited the painting after it was sold at a forced sale in 1939. The heir of the seller demanded that it be returned. The current owner filed suit in Louisiana claiming that under Louisiana law, enough time had gone by that she was now the owner (essentially adverse possession of statute of limitations). The heir of the seller argued that federal law (the Terezin Declaration) overrode Louisiana law.

The Fifth Circuit held that all of the courts that decided claims involving Nazi-confiscated artwork consistently applied the state law statutes of limitations. It also held that the heir of the seller didn't timely raise the Terezin Declaration, but that, even if she had, the result would still be the same because Louisiana's law does not apply only to Holocaust victims of Nazi confiscated artwork.

In short, too much time has gone by and now the artwork belongs to the family of the buyer."

Thank you Carol for sending me this. I thought is was most interesting.

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