The Law Office of Justin Sobodash, P.C. obtained a major victory in an art law case on July 7. Our office represented famed Italian actress and producer Rita Rusic defending against a lawsuit brought by G&G Productions, LLC, the alleged assignee of her ex-husband, former Italian Senator Vittorio Cecchi Gori. Rusic filed for divorce from Gori 16 years ago, which was granted on the grounds of physical abuse and infidelity by Mr. Gori.
In several successive, failed Italian lawsuits, Mr. Gori claimed Ms. Rusic converted (i.e. unlawfully took from him) the famed painting, “Wine of Babylon,” by Jean-Michel Basquiat. Later, in the present lawsuit, G&G sued Ms. Rusic for conversion, claiming that Mr. Gori has assigned his alleged rights in the Painting to G&G, notwithstanding the evidence showing that Mr. Gori gave Ms. Rusic the Painting as an anniversary present.
Our office filed a motion for summary judgment, contending that California’s borrowing statute, and thus the Italian statute of limitations, barred the action. Judge R. Gary Klausner of the Central District of California agreed, noting that G&G was wrong in claiming that an exception to the California borrowing statute applied. To the contrary, the court found that the exception (which G&G argued would toll the statutory limitations period) only applied with respect to cases brought against museums, galleries, auctioneers, and dealers. Therefore, Ms. Rusic’s motion for summary judgment was granted.
G&G was represented by Brent Blakely and Jessica Covington of Blakely Law Group of Manhattan Beach, California.