Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status

Seltzer v. Morton

336 Mont. 225 (2007)

Case BriefRelatedOptions
From our private database of 30,500+ case briefs...

Seltzer v. Morton

Montana Supreme Court

336 Mont. 225 (2007)

Facts

Western-art expert Steve Seltzer (plaintiff) sued Steve Morton, attorney Dennis Gladwell, and Gladwell’s firm, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP (GDC) (defendants) for malicious prosecution and abuse of process. Morton and his brother bought a painting purportedly signed by Charles M. Russell from the Kennedy Galleries in 1972. When Morton decided to sell the painting in 1998, an appraiser said a real Russell would fetch $650,000. However, Seltzer attributed the painting to his grandfather, painter O.C. Seltzer, making it much less valuable. Morton took the painting to a second expert, Ginger Renner, who confirmed O.C. Seltzer painted it. Morton sent a letter thanking Renner and expressing shock and had an attorney write the Kennedy Galleries accusing them of fraudulently misrepresenting the painting’s origin. Morton tried to sell the painting as a Russell twice, but the dealers refused. When Morton retained Gladwell, he sent letters demanding that Seltzer and Renner recant their opinions or the Mortons would sue for punitive damages. Seltzer did not respond, and a GDC associate sued Seltzer on the Mortons’ behalf. Despite minimal funds, Seltzer retained counsel, who served discovery requesting documents concerning the painting’s authenticity. However, Morton did not produce the letters to Renner or the Kennedy Galleries admitting the painting was not a real Russell. Seltzer requested summary judgment, submitting affidavits from 10 Western-art experts opining the painting was not a Russell. After seven months, Gladwell and Morton acknowledged they could not prevail, and the court dismissed the lawsuit. Seltzer incurred over $45,000 in legal fees and suffered damage to his reputation and severe emotional distress resulting in debilitating physical trauma. The jury awarded Seltzer damages totaling $20.35 million, which the court reduced by $10.5 million. The parties cross-appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Nelson, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 551,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.

    Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.

    Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee

Here's why 551,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 30,500 briefs, keyed to 984 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership
Here's why 551,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
  • Reliable - written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students
  • The right length and amount of information - includes the facts, issue, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents
  • Access in your class - works on your mobile and tablet
  • 30,500 briefs - keyed to 984 casebooks
  • Uniform format for every case brief
  • Written in plain English - not in legalese and not just repeating the court's language
  • Massive library of related video lessons - and practice questions
  • Top-notch customer support

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership