For one, Zatkoff wrote, “counsel violated the Court’s in limine ruling regarding other legal disputes involving Plaintiff.”….
“[T]he Court: (1) vacates the jury’s verdict with respect to the nine claims asserted by Plaintiff against the FAR Defendants, (2) vacates the jury’s verdict on the Lanham Act counter-claim filed by FAR against Plaintiff, and (3) orders a new trial on the nine claims asserted by Plaintiff against the FAR Defendants and the Lanham Act counter-claim filed by FAR against Plaintiff.”
UPDATE: Crain’s Detroit Business reported Sept. 16 that neither Park West nor FAR will appeal the judge’s ruling, and instead will await a new trial, as Zatkoff has ordered.
Park West attorney Rodger Young briefly appealed a portion of Zatkoff’s ruling that had preserved a small portion of the April jury verdict pertaining to Bruce Hochman, owner of California-based The Salvador Dali Art Gallery. But he said he expects to withdraw that appeal, as the dealer has settled with Hochman.
Meanwhile, Payton is still representing several art buyers in a separate lawsuit against Park West filed at Oakland County Circuit Court. It remains pending before Circuit Judge Nanci Grant.
What else do we know? We know that other cases are in the works. Some of these are class action suits which are waiting to be certified by the courts. Apparently, these cases also challenge Park West Gallery's art selling practices. The list of cases is listed on the Fine Art Registry website.
FILED IN THE STATE OF MICHIGAN
Alleman et al v. Park West Galleries, Inc. et al - filed July 22, 2009
Mullen v. Park West Galleries, Inc., et al - filed July 24, 2009
Hatter v. Park West Galleries, Inc. et al - filed July 29, 2009
Bohm v. Park West Gallery, Inc. et al - filed April 13, 2009
(Bohm Amended Complaint filed July 24, 2009)
FILED IN THE STATE OF WASHINGTON
Blackman v. Park West Galleries, Inc et al - filed September 2, 2008
FILED IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA
Bouverat v. Park West Gallery, Inc. - filed June 20, 2008
Certainly Park West Gallery wants all this to go away without any further attention to the legal disputes that seem to be mounting. But let's give the judge the judicial benefit of the doubt. Regardless of what Fine Art Registry and their lawyers did or did not do during the defamation trial, the testimony of the art experts, the increasing number of law suits being filed by unhappy customers, and the criticism of Park West Gallery's authentication and appraisal practices does not just magically disappear simply because this judge disagreed with his jury. This is a big problem for Park West that will be resolved in court.
It does appear that Park West has won round one by default and not by jury verdict. We will take a look at one of their appraisals in a later article to understand the basis of the criticism in this particular area. What are the reasonable expectations of an art buyer? Are there any agreed upon standards that most appraisers and authenticators follow? Does it appear that there might be some conflict of interest? Future cases will be adjudicated on these points.
Park West deserves a fair hearing and an opportunity to defend their gallery practices. In my judgment the art world needs to lower the rhetoric and let the facts speak for themselves dispassionately. Considering the damage that has been done to reputations and to the confidence the public may have had in the commercial side of the art world, believe me regardless of who wins there should be no victory dance.