Cassirer v. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, No. 12-56159 (9th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs filed suit against the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation seeking to recover a masterpiece French impressionist painting by Camille Pissarro that was allegedly taken from their ancestors by the Nazi regime. On appeal, plaintiffs challenged the district court's grant of the Foundation's motion to dismiss the complaint without leave to amend. Amended California Code of Civil Procedure 338(c)(3) provides for a six-year statute of limitations period for the recovery of fine art against a museum, gallery, auctioneer, or dealer. The court found that the district court erred in concluding that section 338 intruded on foreign affairs and concluded that the district court erred in striking section 338 down as unconstitutional on the basis of field preemption. The court concluded that the district court correctly held that the Foundation's due process challenge could not be resolved on the Foundation's motion to dismiss. The court further concluded that the Foundation failed to demonstrate that section 338(c)(3) burdened its rights to free speech and, therefore, section 338(c)(3) did not violate the Foundation's First Amendment rights. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings.