WMH Wins Major Turnaround in Multi-Million Dollar Art Dispute

WMH Wins Major Turnaround in Multi-Million Dollar Art Dispute

Walden Macht & Haran (“WMH”) scored a “come from behind” victory for an art leasing company, Artemus, in a case before Justice Joel M. Cohen of the New York Supreme Court. The plaintiffs, an art dealer and his company, filed suit in September 2017, seeking millions in damages for alleged breach of a sale-leaseback agreement. Artemus filed various counterclaims, including for fraud. Artemus retained WMH after a prior justice entered a preliminary injunction against Artemus, which prevented it from liquidating various artworks, including works by Keith Haring and Frank Stella. After successfully moving to vacate the injunction, WMH found evidence of improper and deceptive discovery practices and moved for sanctions. Granting relief in October 2019, the court directed plaintiffs to produce forensic images of various electronic devices. When plaintiffs failed to comply with the court’s orders, WMH moved again for sanctions, including dismissal of plaintiffs’ complaint. Yesterday, Justice Cohen dismissed the plaintiffs’ case with prejudice and struck their answer to Artemus’s counterclaims, delivering a complete victory to WMH’s client. In dismissing the case, Justice Cohen adopted the analysis of WMH’s motion, calling it “detailed, clear and compelling.”

Georgia Winston, who argued the motion, said: “We are grateful to Justice Cohen for seeing the evidence clearly and granting this relief. Failing to follow orders of a court has consequences, as yesterday’s decision shows. We are gratified that our client got a measure of vindication.”

Asher Edelman said, “The Walden firm took over this case and cured a morass of legal problems. The firm drove home the equity and the legal complexities of the case and did a superb job of winning a well-deserved victory.”

The trial team included Jim Walden, Daniel Cohen, and Tricia Lyons.

Contact: Jennifer Besada,, (212) 335-2979

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