Single Claim Survives in $95,000 Chair Dispute

     (CN) – A Tokyo resident who spent $95,000 on two counterfeit Pierre Chareau chairs can proceed with a claim that the gallery fraudulently induced the sale by touting the chairs as works of the French designer, a federal judge in Manhattan ruled.

     Ryoko Itakura claimed that Primavera Galleries in Manhattan and owner Audrey Friedman refused to refund her money after Christie’s Auction told her the chairs were fakes.
     U.S. District Judge Harold Baer Jr. dismissed Itakura’s claims for breach of contract and unjust enrichment as time-barred, because she bought the chairs 20 years ago.
     The judge also threw out her claims for false designation of origin and common-law “palming off” – or selling the goods of one manufacturer as those of another – because she lacks standing.
     However, Baer allowed Itakura to proceed on a fraudulent inducement claim, saying she had presented sufficient evidence and had filed the claim within the statute of limitations. New York law sets the limit on fraud cases at six years from the date of the fraud or two years from the date the fraud was uncovered, the judge said.
     Itakura first took the chairs to Christie’s in 2007.
     Chareau was an early 20th century designer and architect credited with building the first house in France from steel and glass.

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