Who Owned 31 Drawings by Alexander Calder?

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Court Adjudicates Conflicting Claims for Possession

Almost fifty years ago, the renowned artist Alexander Calder allegedly gifted away 31 drawings. Half a century later, during which several transfers and transactions intervened, the Calder estate sought to recover the pieces from the gallery then in possession of the works.

Prior to his death on November 11, 1976, Alexander Calder, a renowned artist, allegedly gifted to Alfredo Melgar thirty-one drawings. Melgar retained the drawings in his possession until July 15, 2014, when, pursuant to a consignment agreement with a gallery, Chowaiki & Co., he delivered the drawings to non-party Ezra Chowaiki for sale. Melgar alleged that the drawings were neither sold during the consignment period (July 15, 2014 through December 31, 2014) nor returned to him by January 15, 2015 as set forth in the agreement.

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UCC Lien Filed Against 16th Century Portrait of de` Medici by del Sarto:

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Would Court Direct Immediate Filing of Termination Statement?

The Uniform Commercial Code authorizes the filing of a lien  to perfect a security interest in personal property. But, as a recent case illustrates, the Court may be called upon to adjudicate the validity of the filing/lien.

A 16th century painting, entitled Portrait of Ottaviano de` Medici by the artist Andrea del Sarto, was scheduled for a UCC auction sale at Sotheby’s. Virginia Bonito challenged the validity of a UCC-1 lien filed by Ian Peck, Empire Chesapeake Holdings, LLC and Chelsea Fine Arts Holding, LLC against the painting in May 2021. Arguing that they had no security interest. Bonito moved for injunctive relief and Peck, Chesapeake and Chelsea cross-moved to dismiss Bonito’s complaint.

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Shopper Trips and Falls Over Mannequin at Department Store:

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Was Kohl’s Negligent and Liable for Customer’s Injury?

We have all had the experience of navigating the aisles, stands and displays that must be traversed in a department store. As a recent case illustrates, the Court was required to determine if the operator was liable when a customer tripped and fell over a mannequin stand and display.

Jodi Leckie sued Kohl’s Department Stores, Inc. to recover for personal injuries she allegedly sustained as a result of a trip-and-fall accident that occurred on March 18, 2017 at the Kohl’s store located at 5000 Nesconset Highway in East Setauket, New York.  The accident allegedly occurred when Leckie tripped and fell on a mannequin stand display. Leckie alleged that Kohl’s was negligent in permitting the display to protrude into an aisle creating a hazardous condition.

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After Medical Complaints: Sing Sing Prisoner Injured in Fall Down Stairs

This was originally posted on the DGR Blog.

Was New York State Liable for Medical Malpractice/Negligence?

A convict complained about lower back pain radiating into his legs and asked to be moved to a cell on the medical treatment floor to by-pass the stairs.  The request was denied and the prisoner was subsequently injured when he fell on the stairs.

The convict sued. Was the State liable?

On or about January 14, 2016, James Marsh was on his way to sick call at approximately 5:30-6:00 a.m. at the Sing Sing Correctional Facility from A Block, K company, 50 cell. As he descended the stairs, upon turning onto J Company, while holding onto the railing, he fell down the stairs when his right leg gave out due to prior severe lower back pain radiating into his legs.

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Drug Crime Parolee Stopped For Minor Traffic Violation:

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Was There Probable Cause for Search, Seizure and Drug Arrest?

Dane Pennie, on parole after being convicted of a drug offense was stopped for a traffic violation. The police searched the car; drugs were found; the driver was charged with a drug crime–parole violation and traffic offense; prosecuted and found guilty of the parole violation but not the traffic offense; and the drug charge was not prosecuted. Pennie was incarcerated for more than a year after his arrest.

Pennie sued the State of New York for false arrest and wrongful confinement that arose from the seizure of drugs by State troopers from a vehicle he was driving in the Town of Wallkill on July 30, 2017. The drugs were seized after the troopers stopped the vehicle for a traffic violation and then conducted a search. The Court held a trial by video conference on July14-15, 2021.

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Scenario: Love on the Rocks

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Lesson learned:  Trust But Verify

Continuing with reports of the legal and collateral consequences when romantic relationships (with undocumented financial connections) rupture:

In mid-2017 Nebular Hou met Terry Zhang by October 2017 they began “a romantic relationship.”

Also in October 2017, Terry informed Nebular that his bank account, containing more than $100,000, was “frozen” and that his employer, Tristate, Auto Service Center Inc. was “struggling financially.”

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Three Day Trial in Contested Canine Custody Case:

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Court Determines Which Parent has Right to Sole Possession

Our Courts regularly and routinely resolve disputed claims to possession of personal property and controverted petitions for child custody. But, as a recent case illustrates, a Court may be required to adjudicate competing applications for possession/custody of a cherished canine companion.

Matthew Mundo sued Harry Weatherson to recover possession of a Chihuahua dog named Maximus. The complaint alleged that Maximus (valued at approximately $2,500) was being wrongfully detained by Weatherson because Mundo held a superior right to possession. Mundo asserted causes of action for replevin, declaratory judgment and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

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All Not Bucolic at Esplanade Gardens in Manhattan:

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Board Members Challenge Termination in Court

Did the Board of Directors of a residential coop have the right to terminate two directors? Were the dismissals subject to Court review under the business judgment rule?

Esplanade Gardens, Inc. is a six- building 1,872-apartment Mitchell-Lama coop on West 145th St. in Harlem (est.1967).

Robyn Tolliver and William Ross alleged that they were wrongfully removed from their positions as members on the Board of Esplanade.

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Numerous Defects in Execution of Propounded Will:

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Would Court Grant Unopposed Petition to Probate?

Many of us have either signed or witnessed the signing of a will—and are familiar with some of the concomitant practices and procedures.  But the Estates Powers and Trust Law details the four requirements for the due execution and attestation of a will. What is a Surrogate to do if no one objects to the probate of a will even if that statutorily essential quartet is not meticulously satisfied?

In an uncontested proceeding for the probate of an instrument alleged to have been signed by Domenica L. Russo, the Court held a hearing to determine whether the execution of the proffered instrument met the formal requirements of EPTL 3-2.1.

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Cyclist Injured in Fall on Westchester Park Bike Trail:

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Was County Liable for the Riders Injury?

My last blog post related to an action that arose after a recreational rider was injured in a fall on a bike path in a New York State park that was claimed to have been negligently maintained. This blog post relates to a proceeding that arose, on similar facts, after a recreational rider was injured in a fall on a bike path in a Westchester County park.

At approximately 8:00 a.m. on June 16, 2018, Scott Dinhofer had already been riding his triathlon bicycle for two hours or thirty miles. While traveling south on the North County Trailway in the Town of New Castle in Millwood, New York, when his bicycle hit a bump on the Trailway that was shaded by a tree. As a result, the bicycle flipped forward causing Dinhofer to land on the right, back side of his body, and he was transported by ambulance to Westchester County Medical Center.

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