Media Coverage - Berkshire Museum Lawsuit
Sullivan is plaintiffs’ counsel in a lawsuit on behalf of Berkshire County residents and members of the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, seeking an immediate injunction against the museum's planned sale of art early next month. The Berkshire Museum has 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 on or before November 13, 2017.
The loss of these works would represent an irreparable loss for the community and Massachusetts.
After the Superior Court denied the requested injunction on November 7, 2017 and dismissed all plaintiffs apart from the Attorney General, a single justice of the Appeals Court entered an injunction at the Attorney General’s request on November 10, 2017 barring the sale of any of the paintings until at least December 11, 2017. On December 13, 2017, the Single Justice extended that prohibition against the sale of any of the affected works until at least January 29, 2018. Sullivan’s clients filed their appeal papers seeking the reinstatement of their claims on January 16, 2018. On February 5, 2018, the Attorney General's office announced it had reached a tentative agreement with the Museum, which was announced on February 9, 2018.
On March 20, 2018, the single justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts heard oral arguments on whether to accept the Attorney General's agreement with the Museum.
The media coverage related to this lawsuit has been substantial and includes:
- At Berkshire Museum art sale hearing, both sides find reason for hope, (3/21/18, The Berkshire Eagle)
- Cash-strapped museum urges judge to OK contentious art sale, (3/20/18, SFGate)
- As Closely Watched Case Nears Possible End, Lawyers Duel Over Berkshire Museum Sales in Massachusetts Supreme Court, (3/20/18, ARTNews)
- Fate of Berkshire Museum Artwork Rests with State's High Court, (3/20/18, WBUR's The ARTery)
- Berkshire Museum in Court: Pointed Questions, No Resolution (plus, a push for a deaccession law), (3/20/18, Arts Journal)
- Berkshire Museum ruling unlikely before next week, (3/9/18, The Berkshire Eagle)
- 'Special master' urged to oversee Berkshire Museum finances, changes, (2/27/18, The Berkshire Eagle)
- Agreement OKs sale of Rockwell paintings, (2/14/18, Brattleboro Reformer)
- Court filing suggests talks underway to resolve Berkshire Museum art sale, (1/29/18, The Berkshire Eagle)
- When Berkshire Museum injunction ends, private art sale could follow, attorney cautions (1/17/18, The Berkshire Eagle)
Appeals Court justice extends injunction on Berkshire Museum art sale (12/13/17, The Berkshire Eagle)
- Foes of art sale see dim future for Berkshire Museum (12/3/17, The Boston Globe)
- No quick result expected in Berkshire Museum litigation (12/2/17, The Berkshire Eagle)
- There's More at Stake in the Berkshire Museum Sale than 40 Artworks (11/21/17, Artsy)
- 3 Lennox residents appeal local judge's ruling in Berkshire Museum art sale (11/20/17, The Berkshire Eagle)
- Norman Rockwell's Legacy at the Heart of Bitter Legal Dispute (11/19/17, The Telegraph)
Attorney General's Office files emergency motion in Berkshire Museum suit (11/2/17, The Berkshire Eagle)
In Contentious Hearing, Lawyers Battle Over Berkshire Museum Sell-Off (11/1/17, ARTNews)
- Financial Concerns Expressed Should Berkshire Museum Art Sale Be Delayed (10/28/17, The Berkshire Eagle)
- Berkshire Museum Faces New Legal Challenge (10/26/17, The Boston Globe [sub. req.])
- Opponents of the Berkshire Museum Sale May Have Just Found an Ingenious Legal Loophole (10/26/17, Artnet.com)
Second Lawsuit Seeks to Halt Berkshire Museum Art Sale (10/26/17, The Berkshire Eagle)
- Second Lawsuit Is Filed to Stop Berkshire Museum Art Sale (10/26/17, WAMC/Northeast Public Radio)
- Second Suit Against Berkshire Museum Aims to Stop 'Liquidation Sale' (10/26/17, ARTNews)
See also the S&W Press Release on this matter: Members of Berkshire Museum File Suit Seeking Injunction Against Sale of Art Collection