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Forgery claim may ruin art dealer’s career

When an expert in a field impugns the character or skill of another in a public forum, it could cause damages for a Nevada business owner in more than one arena. Just the loss of trust or respect from others within the industry could ruin the company. However, proving that defamation occurred, either through a written or spoken statement, and that it cost actual, physical damages may be challenging for anyone seeking to restore a professional reputation.

One such lawsuit filed by an art gallery owner claims that he is the victim of defamation after an auction owner told one of his customers a painting he sold was a forgery. That collector had attempted to sell the artwork at the auction and was refused, even though the auction owner had allegedly reviewed the painting from an image rather than inspecting it in person.

The gallery owner accepted the painting back from the collector, and claims that the artwork no longer has any monetary value due to the negative pronouncement by the auction owner. His lawsuit states that this painting would be worth $1 million had its authenticity not been called into question. Another piece by the same artist, Frank Tenney Johnson, recently sold at auction for nearly that amount, and museums and private collections across the country feature Johnson’s paintings.

In any business arena, overcoming defamation can be difficult, but winning a lawsuit may be a first step toward recovery. Anyone who is suffering damages because of a false statement made by another may benefit from the advice of an attorney.

Source: Reno Gazette-Journal, “Art dealer alleges Reno gallery, art sale defamed him,” Scott Sonner, June 5, 2017

John P. Aldrich
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