Firm Wins Dismissal for New York Art Museums in Antitrust Suit

January 3, 2019

On December 19, 2018, the Firm scored a victory for five New York art museums when the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed a proposed class action by a contemporary artist, who alleged violations of federal and state antitrust laws.

The plaintiff claimed that our clients—The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, the New Museum, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, and the Whitney Museum of American Art—had conspired to exclude from exhibition in their institutions works of art by him and other unspecified contemporary artists.

U.S. District Judge John Koeltl dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint, holding that the plaintiff “failed to state a claim that the alleged conspiracy among defendants is a violation of the Sherman Act.” The judge further noted, “Although the plaintiff assures the court that his artwork is of quality that would be shown in the defendants' museums if not for the alleged conspiracy, this subjective boast alone cannot substantiate the plaintiff's claim that enjoining the alleged conspiracy would lead the defendants to begin purchasing his work.” 

Judge Koeltl dismissed the complaint without prejudice, and is allowing the plaintiff to file a motion to amend by January 15, 2019. If the plaintiff chooses to file the motion, he must also attach proposed amendments that would cure what Judge Koeltl described as the “numerous deficiencies” in his complaint. 

To read press coverage of the decision, click here.