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Second Circuit Affirms FSIA Dismissal of Claims Against Chaffetz Lindsey Client in Picasso Ownership Dispute

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May 2015 – A Chaffetz Lindsey team led by partner Andy Frischknecht and including partner James Hosking and senior associate Andrew Poplinger have won an affirmance in the Second Circuit of a June 2014 decision in the Southern District of New York dismissing all claims against our client, the Free State of Bavaria, in a dispute over ownership of a well-known painting by Pablo Picasso titled “Madame Soler.”  See Schoeps et al. v. Freistaat Bayern or Free State of Bavaria, No. 14-2739, Dkt. # 96-1 (2d Cir. May 22, 2015)

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.

The Second Circuit’s affirmance of the District Court’s decision granting Bavaria’s motion to dismiss the complaint for lack of jurisdiction under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act noted the extensive proceedings in the District Court that led to the dismissal of all claims against Bavaria, including “a three-day evidentiary hearing, multiple rounds of briefing, and oral arguments.”

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