(CN) – An art expert is safe from a fraud claim based on his appraisal of a Gauguin painting because the appraisal was based on his opinion, a New York appeals court ruled. Mandarin Trading Co. complained that it lost money on Paul Gauguin’s “Paysage aux Trois Arbres.”
Guy Wildenstein, a world-renowned Gauguin expert, estimated that the painting was worth between $15 million and $17 million.
Mandarin then bought the painting for $11.8 million but was able to resell it for only $9 million.
The trial court dismissed Mandarin’s complaint against Wildenstein, and the Manhattan-based appeals court agreed.
“The complaint fails to state a cause of action for fraudulent misrepresentation, because the appraisal consists of opinion, which is not actionable,” the judges wrote.
“Mandarin’s unjust enrichment claim cannot be a back door to recovery based on reliance on the appraisal, when it was not entitled to rely on the appraisal in the first place,” the judges ruled.