News & Insights
The Pro Bono SCOTUS Work Driving Seepan V. Parseghian
FIRST PUBLISHED BY 2023 Texas Rising Stars Super Lawyers Magazine
March 27, 2023
In 1938, as Nazi power advanced ever closer to the door of Jewish German industrialist Paul Leffmann and his wife, Alice Leffmann, the couple, desperate for safety, paid $12,000 to escape to Switzerland. They funded the effort by selling a prized possession: Pablo Picasso’s 1904 oil painting The Actor. Today, the painting is valued at $100 million, and, after decades of exchanging hands, it hangs in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.
When Leffmann’s great-grandniece Laurel Zuckerman sued The Met to recover the treasure for the Leffmann estate in 2016, Seepan Parseghian thought she stood a fighting chance.
“She sued under the federal Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act of 2016, which Congress enacted specifically for Holocaust-era art recovery,” the Beck Redden commercial litigator says. “Unfortunately, the Leffmans are not unique. The Nazis forced a lot of wealthy Jewish families to sell artwork for pennies on the dollar as the price for their lives. The problem that these families had, over time, was that the statue of limitations had run out to bring claims to recover these artworks.”
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