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Fight Over a $90,000 Violin Goes in Court

DALLAS (CN) - A violinist with the Dallas Symphony claims in court that he does not owe another $43,000 to a woman who authenticated a Scarampella violin after she sold it to him, without authentication, for a reduced price.

Filip Fenrych of Dallas sued Tara Moore of Mesquite in Dallas County Court.

Fenrych claims that in 2011 Moore asked $90,000 for the violin that bore a Scarampella label. Stefano Scarampella, an Italian luthier, is believed to have made up to 900 violins, beginning in the late 1800s. The instruments are sought by collectors and musicians for their tonal quality.

"At no time did Moore warrant that the violin was an authentic Scarampella violin," the complaint states. "Fenrych insisted that he would require a certificate of authenticity prior to actually purchasing the violin for $90,000. Months passed as Fenrych attempted to obtain financing for the purchase. During this time, Moore searched 'high and low' for the documentation she believed would authenticate the violin as a Scarampella. She stated to Fenrych, however, that she had been unable to locate any such documentation."

Fenrych says the violin was sent to Bein & Fushi for authentication, but in February 2012 Moore told him it was unable to authenticate the instrument.

He says he was concerned the reduced price of $47,000 was still too high for an unauthenticated instrument, but he agreed to it a month later because he liked its sound.

"Before signing the agreement, Fenrych offered to wait a little longer so that Moore could attempt to get the violin authenticated by another dealer," the complaint states. "Moore refused, saying she was tired of dealing with it, had sent the violin to too many places, and was not going to do it anymore."

Fenrych claims that three months later, however, Moore wanted out of the deal, claiming she had found documentation authenticating the violin, and demanded the original price of $90,000.

Fenrych claims their contract does not provide her a contingency fee for authenticating the violin after sale.

"Since June, Moore's tone has grown increasingly aggressive and, on December 23, 2012, Moore's attorney contacted Fenrych, forwarding a draft petition that makes scurrilous allegations about Fenrych and his wife (who had no involvement in the violin purchase) and threatening 'expensive public litigation' if Fenrych did not either remit an additional $43,000 to Moore or immediately return the violin and bow for a refund," the complaint states. (Parentheses in complaint.)

Fenrych refuses, saying it's the only violin he owns and he has been performing with it for nearly a year.

"Fenrych has no desire to undo the deal that he and Moore entered into after arms-length negotiations and with eyes wide open," the complaint states.

Fenrych, a native of Poland, has performed with the orchestra since 2008, according to its website.

He was 14 years old when he made his concerto debut in Germany and is also a member of the Verbier Chamber Orchestra in Switzerland.

He seeks a court declaration that the contract for $47,000 is valid.

He is represented by M. Jeanette Fedele with Gillespie Rozen of Dallas.

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