A New York court has dismissed a claim made against Artmentum, a Swiss art consultancy, by financier ArtAssure (ArtAssure Ltd., LLC v. Artmentum GmbH et al.) The judge said that the case did not fall under the jurisdiction of the court.
In June 2013, Artmentum agreed to sell collection of fine art owned by a Japanese bank to ArtAssure. The two companies signed a formal Memorandum of Understanding but Artmentum later tried to terminate it saying that ArtAssure was taking too long to close the deal. ArtAssure then claimed that the transaction was fraudulent.
As well as denying fraud, Artmentum – which is represented by Sullivan & Worcester – said that the case should not be heard in a US court. It argued that as Artmentum is a Swiss company and the individual defendants are all citizens of either Switzerland, Germany, or the UK, with little business in the US or New York, the court should not rule on the case. The Memorandum of Understanding also stated that the Swiss law would govern any disputes and that the sale would be closed in Switzerland.
“My clients are pleased that the Court agreed that this case never belonged in a New York court,” said Nicholas O’Donnell, partner and head of art and museum law at Sullivan & Worcester. “They deny categorically all of the allegations of wrongdoing leveled by ArtAssure and Asher Edelman.”
The case was heard in the United States District Court by District Judge Lorna Schofield. The full ruling is here