VANCOUVER, B.C. (CN) – The estate of Arthur Erickson, the architect who designed the California Plaza in Los Angeles, the San Diego Convention Center and other buildings around the world, claims the Arthur Erickson Conservancy wrongly profits off the late architect’s persona, and that the organization’s chairwoman took advantage of Erickson late in life when he was infirm.
Oscar Erickson, Arthur’s brother and executor of his estate, and the Arthur Erickson Corporation claim in B.C. Supreme Court that Cheryl Cooper befriended the renowned architect about 10 years before his death last May.
Around that time, his brothers says, Erickson began “to suffer from mental infirmity, at times impairing or negating his ability to make his own financial and other decisions.”
Cooper took Erickson’s possessions over the years, including photographs, personal letters and drawings, and he was too incapacitated to object or to be capable of giving the items away, his brother says.
Erickson was deemed infirm by the state in November 2006, just a month before Cooper incorporated the Arthur Erickson Conservancy using a letter signed by the architect, after he was found incapable of managing his affairs, according to the complaint.
Plaintiffs say the Conservancy falsely holds itself out as responsible for Erickson’s personal archive and wrongly claims to be “the artist-authorized agency for the work of Arthur Erickson, in perpetuity.”
Plaintiffs say the defendants profit by using Erickson’s name to hold “seminars, lectures and other events exploiting his name, works, and reputation.”
“Cheryl Cooper approached Mr. Erickson at a time when he was aged, ill and vulnerable, and pursued a relationship with him for her own personal and monetary gain,” the complaint states. “(T)he dominant purpose of Cheryl Cooper’s relationship with Mr. Erickson was to use his name, reputation, and body of work for her own personal and monetary gain.”
Plaintiffs want punitive damages for misappropriation, a declaration that the Conservancy “is not the artist-authorized agency for the work of Arthur Erickson,” and it wants the Conservancy ordered to remove Erickson’s name from anything to do with the Conservancy/
Plaintiffs are represented by Amy Mortimore with Clark Wilson.