Litigation and Restructuring Lawyers

Attorneys Spuches and Martorella scored a decisive victory in a New York appellate matter

MIAMI, FL – August 30, 2017 – Decisive victory in a New York appellate matter addressing the relationship between art advisors and the collectors who use their services.

Christopher Spuches and Jason Martorella represent a renowned artist and art advisor who was sued by a wealthy collector. At the collector’s request, the advisor procured $1.3 million in artworks by emerging artists Jeff Elrod, Rob Pruitt, Katharina Gross and Alex Israel. The collector filed an 8-count complaint alleging that the art advisor defrauded him and breached his fiduciary duties by, among other things, failing to work with him exclusively, and failing to give him a right of “first crack” at new artworks as they became available. No written contract existed between the parties.

Spuches and Martorella filed a motion to dismiss the case. The Supreme Court of New York entered a stern 18-page decision and order dismissing the entire case with prejudice as “a rambling litany of missed opportunities and other grievances.” Undeterred by the court’s unambiguous opinion, the collector appealed. The Appellate Division unanimously upheld the lower court’s order.

Spuches and Martorella were confident the lower court’s ruling would be upheld. “I agree with the Court’s characterization of this as ‘frivilous litigation’, and gratified that our client prevailed,” Martorella said. Spuches commented on the ramifications of the ruling on the art advisor-collector relationship. “At the outset of this case, the art advisory business was in its infancy,” Spuches noted, “it has since blossomed, both in New York, and Miami. This ruling gives art advisors some comfort that the courts will not allow collectors to impose duties upon them that do not exist.”

To read more about the case, please see Decision & Order

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