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Martin v. City of Indianapolis

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
192 F.3d 608 (7th Cir. 1999)


Jan Martin (plaintiff) studied art at Purdue University, the Art Institute of Chicago, and Bowling Green State University. Martin had completed several works of art that were displayed in museums and private collections. Martin was employed by Tarpenning-LaFollette Company (Tarpenning), where he learned metal fabrication. Tarpenning commissioned Martin to construct a metal sculpture on its land, which was approved by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Development Commission. Martin finished the 20-foot-by-40-foot sculpture, which he named Symphony #1, in two years. Martin designed Symphony #1 so that the sculpture would be easy to disassemble in the event the sculpture had to be moved, a fact that Martin told the City of Indianapolis (the city) when it purchased Tarpenning’s land. Martin offered to remove the sculpture several times, but the city ultimately demolished the sculpture without providing notice to Martin of its intentions. Martin sued the city under the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA). Martin presented several pieces of evidence regarding the merit and esteem the work had achieved in the community, including a letter to Tarpenning from the director of an art school and some newspaper and magazine articles. The district court granted summary judgment for Martin, finding that the letter and articles did not constitute hearsay and were thus admissible as evidence. The city appealed, and Martin cross-appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Wood, J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (Manion, J.)

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