Cassirer v. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation

Under Spanish law, the prescriptive period for claims to possession of a Pisarro painting stolen from a German Jewish citizen by the Nazis and later sold to a Spanish museum, may not have expired if the museum had acquired the painting knowing all along that it was stolen.  In a return of this case on appeal, the Ninth Circuit again reverses.  Interpreting Spanish law, it holds that the prescriptive period for claims to possession of the painting in question may not have expired if the painting’s current owner acquired the painting with knowledge that it had been stolen (by the Nazis in 1939).  Since the defendant’s knowledge involved a disputed issue of fact, the district court erred in entering summary judgment for the defendant.

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Bea, J.; Ikuta, J., concurring in part); July 10, 2017; 2017 WL 2925000

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