Thursday, October 11, 2007

Chase v. Stendhal

The New York Law Journal publishes the decision [$] in artist Saul Chase's breach of contract victory, in New York Supreme Court, over Stendhal Gallery. Chase entered into a one-year agreement with the gallery, but, when they failed to pay him his share of the proceeds from three sales, he terminated the agreement. The gallery argued that "the parties agreed to put [Chase's] share of profits from the sales of his works towards the costs of maintaining" his exhibition, but, on summary judgment, the Court held that was "contradicted by the plain language of the Agreement," which provided that the only costs Chase was responsible for were framing and a share of transportation costs. The Court also held that Chase was acting within his rights when he terminated the agreement as a result of the gallery's breach.

One other element of interest. Maya Stendhal disputed that she is personally liable under the agreement because she signed for Stendhal Gallery, not in her individual capacity -- she signed above a signature line which said "for Stendhal Gallery." The Court rejected her argument, for two reasons: (1) there was no indication anywhere in the agreement that Stendhal Gallery is a corporate entity ("corp.," or "inc.," or "ltd.") and (2) there was no evidence that Stendhal Gallery was even a corporate entity (the gallery was incorporated under the name "Stendhal New York, Inc.," not "Stendhal Gallery").