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Injunction Against Berkshire Museum Sale Is Extended

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on December 13, 2017 at 11:08 AM

The Single Justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court (Joseph A. Trainor) has extended the injunction against the Berkshire Museum's proposed sale of 40 works of art in its collection until at least January 29, 2018.  In its order today in response to the Attorney General's status report, the justice stated:

Please take note that, with respect to the Status report and motion to extend the injunction, filed by Maura Healey. (Paper #23),

on December 13, 2017, the following order was entered on the docket of the above-referenced case:

RE#23 (Revised Action) The preliminary injunction and stay of the trial court proceedings entered on 11/10/17 are continued to January 29, 2018. The Attorney General's Office shall file a status report on, or before, January 3, 2018, regarding the status of the investigation (Trainor, J.). Notice/attest/Agostini, J.

As readers will recall, we represent the member plaintiffs in the action seeking to enjoin permanently this proposed sale.  The dismissal of that case is currently on appeal; this injunction was issued in a parallel case concerning the Attorney General's own claims to stop the sale based on her inherent supervisory authority of non-profits. 

The Berkshire Museum previously consigned forty paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts for auction or sale at Sotheby’s in violation of universally accepted museum ethics—including Shuffleton’s Barbershop and Shaftsbury Blacksmith Shop by Norman Rockwell—to begin on November 13, 2017.  That unprecedented deaceccession was announced to subsdize what the museum called its "New Vision" based on its claims of financial distress.  On November 10, 2017, the Single Justice halted the impending auction and set a deadline for the Attorney General to report on the status of her investigation.  This new order is in response to that AG report. 


Topics: Berkshire Museum, Attorney General, Maura Healey, Single justice, Massachusetts Appeals Court, Joseph A. Trainor

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The Art Law Report provides timely updates and commentary on legal issues in the museum and visual arts communities. It is authored by Nicholas M. O'Donnell, partner in our Art & Museum Law Practice.

The material on this site is for general information only and is not legal advice. No liability is accepted for any loss or damage which may result from reliance on it. Always consult a qualified lawyer about a specific legal problem.

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