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ECBAWM Clients File $380 Million Suit Against Sotheby’s

ECBAWM clients, two trusts named Accent Delight International Ltd. and Xitrans Finance Ltd., filed a complaint in the Southern District of New York against Sotheby’s, one of the world’s largest and most famous auction houses. The Complaint alleges that Sotheby’s helped Yves Bouvier facilitate the largest art fraud in history. As detailed in the New Yorker, Bouvier is alleged to have defrauded the two plaintiff trusts of approximately $1 billion. The new suit alleges that Sotheby’s played a key role in aiding Mr. Bouvier’s scheme by providing valuations and other support for fraudulent transactions. ECBAWM attorneys Daniel J. Kornstein, O. Andrew F. Wilson, Zoe Salzman, and Doug Lieb represent the plaintiffs.

“Billionaire Rybolovlev Slaps Sotheby’s with $380 Million Lawsuit,” Bloomberg
“Russian billionaire claims Sotheby’s conned him out of $1B,” New York Post

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Dan Kornstein Published in the New York Law Journal

In “O.W. Holmes Jr. and #MeToo,” ECBAWM partner and New York Law Journal occasional essayist Daniel J. Kornstein writes: “Holmes should be a hero, as yet unsung, of the #MeToo movement. He is sensitive and aware of the embarrassment and shame felt by a victim of sexual assault. He provides new support for any victim criticized for not reporting an incident sooner. Holmes’s comments should be cited in any brief on the point.”

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Second Circuit Affirms Subpoena in Worldwide Art Dispute

A federal appellate court has upheld ECBAWM’s clients’ request to obtain discovery in aid of foreign proceedings under 28 U.S.C. §1782. In a victory that further defines the contours of the statute, the decision holds for the first time in the Second Circuit that (1) a victim complainant can obtain documents for use in a foreign criminal prosecution, regardless of whether the victim is seeking reparations; and (2) documents obtained for use in one foreign proceeding may be used in other foreign proceedings, absent a contrary court order from the §1782 court. The applicants were represented by ECBAWM attorneys Dan Kornstein, O. Andrew F. Wilson, and Doug Lieb.

A full copy of the decision can be found here.

Read more about the underlying dispute in a profile published in the New Yorker.

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ECBAWM Files Supreme Court Amicus Brief in First Amendment Case

On November 16, 2016, ECBAWM submitted an amicus curiae brief on behalf of Asian Americans Advancing Justice ǀ AAJC and other civil rights and advocacy groups in Lee v. Tam, a First Amendment and trademark case pending before the Supreme Court.

Tam, the Respondent, is the leader of a band called, “The Slants”—a racially derisive term referring to Asian Americans. Tam has stated that his use of “The Slants” is an effort to reclaim that term. Nevertheless, his trademark application for the name was rejected under a section of the trademark law that prohibits registration of derogatory marks. The Supreme Court will consider whether that section is facially invalid under the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.

Though not submitted in support of either the Respondent or the Petitioner, the amicus curiae brief represents the interests of a coalition of groups whose constituents are harmed by the dissemination of racial slurs. The brief sheds light on the complicated nature of the inquiry before the Court, the free speech interests on both sides, and the power and difficulties of reclamation efforts. ECBAWM attorneys Daniel Kornstein and Alanna Small worked on the brief. You can read the brief here.

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Daniel Kornstein Published in the New York Law Journal

On July 20, 2016, Daniel Kornstein penned an insightful examination of the 2016 presidential campaign in the New York Law Journal. In his thought-provoking analysis “Political Defamation and Democracy,” Kornstein ponders the corrosive influence of political defamation and negative campaigning on American democracy, and discusses whether or not the law should play a role in curtailing the threat posed by candidates’ dishonest and inflammatory comments.

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Famed Sculptor Wins Summary Judgment Against Designer Who Destroyed Artwork

On June 13, 2016, Judge Ostrager of the New York Supreme Court ruled that interior designer Inson Wood and his company were liable for the destruction of three marble sculptures made by famed sculptor Edwina Sandys. Ms. Sandys loaned the sculptures to Mr. Wood for display and sale at the Waterfall Mansion, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Months later, her sculptures were returned to her shattered into pieces. After Mr. Wood refused to reimburse her for the broken sculptures, Ms. Sandys sued him and others on claims of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and negligence, among other charges. A trial on the other issues and other parties will be held in September.

Ms. Sandys is represented by ECBAWM attorneys Dan Kornstein and Ali Frick.

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