Art

A Legislative Fix for the Cassirer Case?

Regular TLB readers may be familiar with the Cassirer case seeking to recover a painting by Camille Pissarro that was stolen by the Nazis and is now in the possession of a Spanish museum. The U.S. Supreme Court held in Cassirer v. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation (2022) that federal courts must apply state choice-of-law rules to…

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Ninth Circuit Decides Cassirer in Favor of Spain

In 2005, Claude Cassirer sued a state-owned museum in Spain to recover a painting by Camille Pissarro that the Nazis stole from his grandmother. The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court on a choice-of-law question, and the Court held that state, rather than federal, choice-of-law rules should determine the applicable law in cases under…

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D.C. Circuit Addresses FSIA in German Art Case

In the years before World War II, the Nazi government in Germany allegedly stole an art collection belonging to a Jewish industrialist. His descendants who live in the United States sued Germany in Toren v. Federal Republic of Germany.  They argue that Germany is not immune from suit under an exception to the Foreign Sovereign…

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Cassirer on Remand: Considering the Laws of Other Interested States

Claude Cassirer brought suit in federal court in California eighteen years ago against the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum of Madrid, Spain, to recover a painting by Camille Pissarro that was stolen from his grandmother by the Nazis during World War II.  After a reversal and remand from the U.S. Supreme Court last summer, the case is…

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Who Owns the Stargazer?

Claims relating to the ownership of movable property generate an impressive amount of transnational litigation. In April 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court decided a long-running case about the ownership of a painting that had been expropriated by the Nazis in 1939. In July 2022, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York…

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New Scholarship on the FSIA

Vivian Grosswald Curran (University of Pittsburgh) has a draft article up on SSRN entitled Nazi Stolen Art: Uses and Misuses of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.  Many important FSIA cases have involved great works of art stolen by the Nazis including the Supreme Court’s 2003 decision in Altmann v. Republic of Austria concerning the ownership…

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Foreign Sovereign Immunity and Choice of Law—State, not Federal

In Cassirer v. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation, the Supreme Court unanimously held that, in adjudicating state-law claims against a foreign state or instrumentality under one of the exceptions to the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act (FSIA), 28 U.S.C. § 1602, et seq., a federal court must apply the choice-of-law rules of the forum state rather than federal…

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What Should Happen Next in Cassirer?

Most of the procedural questions that arise in domestic litigation have a counterpart in transnational litigation. In Cassirer v. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation, the Supreme Court confronted the transnational counterpart to Klaxon v. Stentor Electric Manufacturing Co., a much-debated choice-of-law case decided in 1941. As Justice Kagan noted in her opinion for a unanimous Court, “[a]lthough…

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Cassirer and FSIA Choice of Law

Today the Supreme Court unanimously resolved an important case about choice of law under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA). Cassirer v. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation is a lawsuit about the ownership of a Camille Pissarro painting, surrendered by Lilly Cassirer to the Nazis and now held by a foundation created and controlled by the Government…

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Supreme Court decides Cassirer v. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation

The Supreme Court today unanimously held in Cassirer v. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation that state choice-of-law rules apply in cases brought against foreign sovereigns alleging non-federal claims.

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