Howard Spiegler addresses important issues regarding the HEAR ActOctober 2019
The panel addressed the HEAR Act and how it impacts claims to recover artwork lost during the Nazi era. In particular, Howard critiqued the recent decisions by the Southern District and the Second Circuit in the case of Zuckerman v. Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is being handled by Herrick on behalf of the plaintiff. In Zuckerman, the plaintiff’s family was forced to sell a valuable Picasso in order to escape from Nazi and Fascist persecution during the Nazi era. Citing recent U.S Supreme Court cases, Howard explained that the Supreme Court has repeatedly held that laches cannot be applied in a case that is governed by a Congressionally mandated statute of limitations, as was enacted by the HEAR Act. Moreover, Howard underscored that the HEAR Act expressly adopts as U.S. policy the terms of the Terezin Declaration, which specifically refers to “sales under duress” as losses during the Nazi era that should be rectified, and the HEAR Act therefore broadly covers artworks “lost . . . because of Nazi persecution.”
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