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Porter v. Wertz

Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department
421 N.E.2d 500 (1979)


Facts

Samuel Porter (plaintiff) owned a painting by the artist Maurice Utrillo, which he loaned to Harold Von Maker. Von Maker signed an agreement with Porter, stating that the painting would remain Porter’s, and if not returned, $30,000 would be paid to Porter. Von Maker then obtained Peter Wertz to sell the Utrillo painting to Richard Feigen (defendant). Feigen did not make any attempt to determine if Wertz was a reputable art dealer. In fact, he was not, and instead was employed by a delicatessen. Upon hearing of this, Porter brought suit to reclaim the painting. The trial court determined Feigen successfully argued that the affirmative defense of statutory estoppel constituted a bar to Porter’s suit. Porter appealed to the Appellate Division, First Department.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Birns, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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