Museum of Fine Arts, Boston v. Seger-Thomschitz, 09-1922

By FindLaw Staff on October 14, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Declaratory action to confirm rightful ownership of painting sold during the Holocaust

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston v. Seger-Thomschitz, 09-1922, involved an art museum's action for a declaratory judgment to confirm its rightful ownership of a painting, which a sole surviving heir of the painting's artist claimed that the artist was forced to sell under duress after Austria was annexed by Nazi Germany in 1938.


In affirming the district court's grant of summary judgment for the museum on statute of limitations grounds, the court held that, because defendant did not make a demand on the museum more than three years after her causes of action accrued, summary judgment was properly granted on the museum's limitations defense.  The court also held that the defendant has not shown that application of the Massachusetts statute of limitations to the Massachusetts causes of action in this case would cause a significant conflict with, or threat to, the federal interests and policies embodied in section 510(c)(3).  Further, the Massachusetts statute of limitations does not conflict with the federal government's foreign policy.

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