Rebuttal issued in fake art trial

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, March 07, 2018

A New Hampshire mother-son duo collectively accused of selling almost $700,000 in counterfeit paintings to a well-known art collector has asked for a summary judgment hearing.

Lorettann and Nikolas Gascard filed a motion for summary judgment on March 1, arguing that they are entitled to judgment without trial because plaintiff Andrew Hall’s claims are all barred by the statute of limitations. The Gascards also argue that no tolling doctrine apply to the plaintiff. 

“Mr. Hall, however, brings his claims almost seven years after he purchased the first painting, and almost five years after the final purchase,” wrote the Gascards in a memorandum of law. “All applicable statutes of limitation have therefore  lapsed. The delay was solely    due to Mr. Hall’s lack of due diligence, as he intentionally chose not to investigate the authenticity of the painting until years after their purchase, despite having full means and opportunity to do so.”

According to the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, summary judgment is appropriate when “the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issues as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.”

The Gascards argue through their attorneys, Cleveland, Waters, & Bass, P.A., that they are entitled to summary judgment on all counts because Hall’s claims are barred by their applicable statutes of limitations, and that he has no evidence to support a fraud allegation. Over 100 pages of supporting documentation was filed by the Gascards with the U.S. District Court, District of New Hampshire.

The Gascards listed a “statement of facts as to which the defendant believes there is no dispute,” which lays out a case that Hall has been collecting art for decades, amassed a collection of approximately 5,000 to 6,000 works of art, has access to several experts in the art world, an is “an individual of considerable wealth and means.” 

The Gascards also state that Hall has not provided any evidence to indicate that they had known of the allegedly forged nature of the paintings sold. The Gascards maintain that they believed the paintings were authentic and that it “cannot be reasonably disputed that the paintings – on their face – appear to be painted by Golub.”

The lawsuit against the Gascards was filed in September of 2016, alleging that the Gascards sold 24 counterfeit Leon Golub paintings to him between 2009 and 2011. 

Hall first determined the Golubs may be counterfeit after preparing an art exhibit in November 2014. Hall had reached out to Leon Golub’s estate to confirm dates and titles of the works he owned. 

Hall advanced six claims against the Gascards: fraud, conspiracy to defraud, breach of common law and statutory warranties, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and unfair and deceptive trade practices in violation of New Hampshire’s Consumer Protection Act. 

The Gascards have previously asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit, but a federal judge only dismissed Hall’s common law breach of warranty claim. 

The trial is currently scheduled for July 24. 

Nicholas Handy can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or nhandy@ledgertranscript.com. He is also on Twitter @nhandyMLT.