July 2014 – Partner Andy Frischknecht was quoted in the New York Law Journal, concerning a recent decision in the Southern District of New York dismissing all claims against the Free State of Bavaria in a dispute over ownership of a well-known painting by Pablo Picasso titled “Madame Soler.”
Andy, James Hosking and Andrew Poplinger represented Bavaria in the litigation. At issue were claims by the heirs of a former owner of the painting against Bavaria, which acquired “Madame Soler” in the 1960s. The heirs claimed superior title to the painting (which they valued at up to $100 million) based on the circumstances of a prior sale in the 1930s. Following extensive briefing and a two-day evidentiary hearing, the court granted Bavaria’s motion to dismiss the complaint for lack of jurisdiction under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. The court found that aside from a single, preliminary meeting in New York, Bavaria’s acquisition took place in Europe. The court further concluded that the heirs’ claims were based not on Bavaria’s acquisition of the painting in the 1960s, but instead on the alleged circumstances of the prior sale in the 1930s.