Art Law Report

Berkshire Museum Tries to End-Run Pending Appeal but Member Plaintiffs Decline to be Bullied

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on August 16, 2018 at 4:58 PM

After four months of silence, the Berkshire Museum suddenly demanded last week that my clients dismiss their still-pending lawsuit over the governance of the museum by claiming that the April decision by the Single Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court that lifted the binding restrictions that the sales of its art collection would have violated somehow put an end to my clients’ case (which has been scheduled for oral argument on September 4, 2018 in Boston).  By letter on Tuesday, I explained that the museum was quite mistaken indeed.  Yesterday, the museum escalated and filed a request that Appeals Court simply dismiss the appeal, and actually accused my clients of acting in bad faith.  The museum also saw fit to put the text of the letter into a press release that it circulated widely through its public relations team. 

This afternoon we filed our response, the text of which is reproduced below.  Put simply, while the lawsuit quite explicitly sought to stop the sale of the museum’s art collection, the fact that some of the works have already been sold does not begin to answer the questions that the lawsuit raised. 

My clients look forward to the argument after Labor Day.

Read More

Topics: Berkshire Museum, Single justice, Supreme Judicial Court, Trustees of the Berkshire Museum, Deaccession

New Sullivan & Worcester LLP Advisory on Fine Arts Consignment

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on September 26, 2014 at 6:58 AM

Sullivan & Worcester LLP's Art and Museum Law Group has published an important new client advisory about Massachusetts's fine arts consignment statute, G.L. c. 104A. With the recent decision in Plumb v. Casey et al. by the Supreme Judicial Court, it is more important than ever to understand what the law requires and provides. Certainly if a transaction has any connection to Massachusetts (whether through buyer, seller, agent, estate executor, etc.), or even if it is just in a state with a consignment statute whose courts may look to this opinion for guidance, we hope our readers will find the advisory helpful.

Read More

Topics: Legislation, consignment, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Supreme Judicial Court, SJC, Bankruptcy Court, Sullivan & Worcester LLP, consignor, G.L. c. 104A § 2, Art and Museum Law Group, G.L. c. 104A § 1, U.C.C.-1 statement, U.C.C. Secretary of State, Plumb v. Casey, Chapter 7, Uniform Commercial Code

Massachusetts High Court Clarifies: Written Agreement Not Required to Create Consignment of Fine Art and its Resulting Trust Duties

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on September 9, 2014 at 12:35 PM

The Supreme Judicial Court, the high court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, has answered a certified question from the Bankruptcy Court about the interpretation of Massachusetts’s fine art consignment law, G.L. c. 104A. The case, Eve Plumb et al. v. Debra Casey, SJC-11519, originated with an art dealer’s bankruptcy and the claim by the trustee in that bankruptcy that the artwork in the dealer’s possession belonged to that bankrupt dealer, not the artists. The SJC has interpreted the 2006 amendments to the law for the first time and clarified the roles of everyone involved. In full disclosure, I did some work for two of the artists (Dylan Stark and Robert Stark) at an early phase of the Bankruptcy Court proceedings. Eve Plumb, now an artist but also well known as the actress who played Jan Brady on The Brady Bunch, was another of the artist-claimants. In sum, once an artist delivers a work of art for sale for the purpose of exhibition or sale, it is a consignment, and the seller/consignee holds it in trust for the artist, regardless of the consignee’s own circumstances.

Read More

Topics: Legislation, consignment, United States Supreme Court, The Brady Bunch, Jan Brady, Allyson Wynne, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Debora Casey, Supreme Judicial Court, SJC, Bankruptcy, Wynne Fine Art Inc., Eve Plumb, Bankruptcy Court, consignor, G.L. c. 104A § 2, Kenneth Wynne III, G.L. c. 104A § 1, U.C.C.-1 statement, U.C.C. Secretary of State, Chatham, Chapter 7, Uniform Commercial Code, certified question, Dylan Stark, Robert Stark, Eve Plumb et al. v. Debra Casey, Jim Grace, SJC-11519, Arts and Business Council

About the Blog


The Art Law Report provides timely updates and commentary on legal issues in the museum and visual arts communities.

The material on this site is for general information only and is not legal advice. No liability is accepted for any loss or damage which may result from reliance on it. Always consult a qualified lawyer about a specific legal problem.

Meet the Editor

Learn more about our Art & Museum Law practice

Subscribe to Blog

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all