Sunday, June 05, 2011

Art Litigation: Second Circuit Finds No "Innocent Owner" Defense To National Stolen Property Act Seizure

In U.S. v. Davis and The Painting Known as "Le Marche" by Camille Pissarro, 2011 WL 2162897 (June 3, 2011), the Second Circuit rejected the "innocent owner" defense to a civil forfeiture action brought by Customs to enforce the National Stolen Property Act.  The monotype was stolen from the Musee Faure in Aix-Les-Bains in France on November 1981.   Once the government established probable cause that the painting was stolen, the burden of proof shifted to the possessor of the artwork to show that it was not stolen.   The work was consigned for sale to Sotheby's, where it was seen by the French police, who notified customs.
Decision below.

US v Davis, The Painting Known as Le March by Camille Pissarro
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