Philip Shepherd QC successfully represents New York art financiers in jurisdiction dispute

26 May 2020

Philip Shepherd QC successfully represents New York art financiers in jurisdiction dispute

Philip Shepherd QC appeared as counsel for the New York art financiers Athena who successfully disputed the jurisdiction of the English Courts in a multimillion dollar claim concerning a valuable painting by Jean Paul Basquaiat entitled “Humidity”.

The painting had been mortgaged to Athena by the now disappeared modern art dealer Inigo Philbrick under a chattel mortgage governed by New York law. The Court set aside service originally granted by Mr Justice Roth because it was now clear that at the time permission was granted there was no real issue to be tried between the Claimant and Mr Philbrick/his company Inigo Philbrick Limited as “anchor defendants” so that Athena could not be regarded as a “necessary or proper party” to that claim applying the decision of the Court of Appeal in Erste Group Bank AG v VMZ “Red October” [2015] EWCA Civ 379  and Gunn v Diaz [2017] EWHC 157.

The Court also concluded that England was not clearly and distinctly the most appropriate forum for the trial of the claim rather than New York where the painting was located with the result that New York law was the lex situs.

Philip was instructed by William Hooker of Boies Schiller Flexner (UK) LLP.

The judgment is here.