(CN) – A federal class action claims that Louis Vuitton sold purported limited edition fine prints for $6,000 to $10,000 apiece at its boutique in the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, but they had “defective” certificates of authenticity and were worth no more than $100 apiece.
The two named plaintiffs say Vuitton built and stocked its boutique at MOCA for a 2007-2008 exhibit of Japanese pop artist Takashi Murakami. Murakami had collaborated with Vuitton since 2002 to create textile patterns based on the Louis Vuitton monogram, which the company sold in handbags, purses, belts and wallets, according to the federal class action in Los Angeles.
“Defendant LVNA [Louis Vuitton North America] also acted as an art dealer for five series of what purported to be genuine limited edition Murakami fine art prints based on the textile patterns Murakami created for defendant LVM,” named plaintiffs Charles Doell and Jeffrey Kaplan say.
“Although each of the prints was sold for $6,000 or $10,000, the LV defendants now claim that the canvas material used in the prints has never been sold or offered for sale before for $100 or more,” the complaint states.
Doell and Kaplan say they each paid $6,000 for one print, each of which came with a certificate of authenticity. If Vuitton sold them all, the men say, it would have reaped about $4 million.
But Doell and Kaplan say, “The certificates of authenticity in various respects do not comply with the strict requirements of the FPA [California Sale of Fine Prints Act], and are defective and incomplete. The certificates lacked informational detail, disclaimers and/or disclaimers mandated by the FPA.
“The LV boutique manager at MOCA confirmed that the certificates of authenticity were defective. Shortly after the conclusion of the Murakami exhibition at MOCA, on Feb. 15, 2008, defendant LVNA’s General Counsel Kathryn Kolanda also admitted there were errors in the certificates of authenticity.”
The five prints at issue are called Monogram Mini Multicolore – black, Monogram Mini Multicolore – white, Monogram Multicolore – black, Monogram Multicolore – white, and Monogram Cherry.
Neither Murakami nor the museum are named as defendants, nor as parties to the complaint, which seeks restitution, class certification and damages for violations of the FPA and violations of the California Business and Professions Code.
Doell and Kaplan are represented by Maxwell Blecher with Blecher & Collins. They estimate that the class contains more than 100 people.