When actor Alec Baldwin realized he’d been deceived and intentionally sold a counterfeit painting, he turned to Hueston Hennigan. After aggressive pre-trial discovery, we were able to obtain a settlement representing a full trial victory in a civil suit against legendary art dealer Mary Boone.
When Alec Baldwin received what he believed to be Ross Bleckner’s “Sea and Mirror,” he thought the colors looked brighter than he’d expected. In response, the art dealer, Mary Boone, falsely told him that this was because she’d had the painting “cleaned” as a “courtesy” since the prior owner had been a smoker. Not being a collector, Mr. Baldwin believed the legendary art dealer’s explanation. Years later, however, he discovered that it was not at all common to have a painting cleaned before delivery, and he then took the painting to Sotheby’s for an inspection. There, his worst fears were confirmed. Ms. Boone initially denied the allegations and ultimately offered only a refund. Seeking justice, Mr. Baldwin retained Hueston Hennigan, which filed suit for fraud in New York, seeking the recovery of “punitive” and “exemplary damages” designed to “deter defendants from continuing these fraudulent practices.”
Ms. Boone fought hard, seeking to have the case dismissed on the ground that Mr. Baldwin “should have known” the work was not real, and that Mr. Baldwin had purportedly failed to file within the statute of limitations. Following extensive briefing and argument on numerous legal issues, Hueston Hennigan successfully defeated the motion and had the trial scheduled for 2018.
Hueston Hennigan then sought aggressive pre-trial discovery, during which incriminating emails were uncovered that revealed Ms. Boone’s intent to forge the painting and defraud Mr. Baldwin. According to The New Yorker, she discussed techniques for “aging the painting and making sure the paint was dry.”
In 2017, we obtained a seven-figure settlement on behalf of Mr. Baldwin—an amount representing a full trial victory with punitive and exemplary damages. As part of the successful settlement, Mr. Baldwin also received several additional Bleckner paintings.
“The long-running art world dispute between Alec Baldwin and the art dealer Mary Boone has been settled, with Ms. Boone paying at least $1 million to the actor and celebrity.” —The New York Times (November 13, 2017)
“I hired Hueston Hennigan because of their extensive experience litigating and winning high-profile fraud cases. It was a fantastic decision. In short order, they filed a compelling complaint, defeated the other side’s efforts to dismiss the case, strategically obtained devastating discovery, and secured a phenomenal settlement for me. Their commitment to my case, insights and advocacy resulted in a total and unmitigated victory.” —Alec Baldwin, actor and philanthropist
“Why Is Alec Baldwin at Least $1 Million Richer Today?” The New York Times (November 13, 2017)
“Alec Baldwin’s Legal Tussel Over a Painting,” The New Yorker (November 20, 2017)
“Mary Boone Will Write Alec Baldwin a Seven-Figure Check to Settle Dispute Over Bleckner Bait-and-Switch,” artnet News (November 13, 2017)