The New York Times has stepped into the fray in reviewing the New York Court of Appeals's decision to review the Rabizadeh/Jenack appeal concerning the application of New York's Statute of Frauds to compel disclosure of a consignment seller at auction. The article zeroes in on the potential impacts to the ways in which auction houses do business. I am quoted in the article and the Art Law Report is referenced on the topic of mandatory disclosure.
There is a new development in the decision last fall in which the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court ruled that an auctioneer must disclose the name of any owner who has consigned the work for sale, or a sale against a successful bidder cannot be enforced consistent with New York General Obligations law § 5-701, the New York Statute of Frauds. After the adverse decision, the William J. Jenack auction house petitioned the Court of Appeals for leave to appeal (in New York, as in many states, one can only appeal to the highest court with that court’s permission).
It is a busy fall for consignment law in New York. News has been making the rounds this month about a decision by the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court, New York’s intermediate appeals court. The Appellate Division ruled that an auctioneer must disclose the name of any owner who has consigned the work for sale, or a sale against a successful bidder cannot be enforced. The auction world is in an uproar, but the result actually derives from a version of a very old law called the Statute of Frauds about what has to be in writing for a contract to be enforceable, for reasons that have nothing to do with art or auctions.