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Jafari v. Wally Findlay Galleries

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
741 F. Supp. 64 (1990)


Facts

Nercy Jafari (plaintiff) entered into negotiations with Dennis DiLorenzo (defendant) to buy a Salvador Dali painting from its owner. On January 26, 1988, with Jafari present, DiLorenzo wrote the parties’ agreed purchase terms on DiLorenzo’s letterhead stationary, including a purchase price of $210,000. The January memorandum did not specify the payment and delivery dates, but both parties knew that DiLorenzo had a deadline to sell the painting on behalf of its owner. The memorandum did not address, and DiLorenzo did not provide, the painting’s original certificate of authenticity. Despite having an expert confirm the authenticity of the painting, Jafari demanded that DiLorenzo furnish the painting’s original certificate of authenticity. DiLorenzo was willing to accept a certified check or deposit from Jafari and received extensions for the sale from the painting’s owner, but Jafari continued to insist upon obtaining additional expert opinions as to the painting’s authenticity. On March 25, 1988, DiLorenzo sold the painting to a third party. Jafari purchased the painting at an auction for $330,000. Jafari sued DiLorenzo for breach of contract, arguing that the January memorandum constituted a contract and that DiLorenzo breached the contract when he sold the painting to a third party. DiLorenzo moved for summary judgment, arguing that no contract was formed and that, even if a contract had been formed, Jafari breached the contract by failing to pay for the painting within a reasonable time.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Sweet, J.)

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