Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Close v. Sotheby's, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

December 3, 2018

Chuck Close; Laddie John Dill, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
Sotheby's, Inc., a New York corporation, Defendant-Appellee. The Sam Francis Foundation; Chuck Close, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated; Laddie John Dill, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
Christie's, Inc., a New York corporation, Defendant-Appellee. The Sam Francis Foundation; Chuck Close, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated; Laddie John Dill, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
Bay Inc., a Delaware corporation, Defendant-Appellee.

          D.C. No. 2:11-cv-08604- MWF-FFM, 2:11-cv-08605- MWF-FFM, 2:11-cv-08622- MWF-PLA.

          Before: Danny J. Boggs, [*] Jay S. Bybee, and Paul J. Watford, Circuit Judges.

         ORDER

         SUMMARY[**]

         Attorneys' Fees

         The panel granted defendants-appellees' applications for attorneys' fees pursuant to Ninth Circuit Rule 39-1.6 and the California Resale Royalties Act, following the panel's opinion affirming in part and reversing in part the district court's dismissal of claims for resale royalties.

         In Close v. Sotheby's, Inc., 894 F.3d 1061 (9th Cir. 2018), the panel held that plaintiffs' claims for resale royalties under the CRRA were expressly preempted by the 1976 Copyright Act, and the panel affirmed the dismissal of claims involving art sales postdating the Copyright Act's effective date of January 1, 1978. The panel reversed the dismissal of CRRA claims to the extent that they involved sales occurring before January 1, 1978, but after the CRRA's effective date of January 1, 1977.

         Granting the applications for attorneys' fees, the panel held that defendants were entitled to fees under the CRRA's fee-shifting provision, which mandates a fee award to the prevailing party in any action under the CRRA. The panel rejected plaintiffs' argument that fees were not available under the CRRA because the effect of the panel's decision was to void the CRRA, including its fee-shifting provision. The panel referred the fee applications to the Appellate Commissioner to calculate the amount of fees to be awarded.

          ORDER

         In Close v. Sotheby's, Inc., 894 F.3d 1061 (9th Cir. 2018), we held that plaintiffs' claims for resale royalties under the California Resale Royalties Act ("CRRA") are expressly preempted by the 1976 Copyright Act. We thus affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiffs' claims that involved any art sales postdating the Copyright Act's effective date of January 1, 1978. We reversed, however, the district court's dismissal of plaintiffs' CRRA claims to the extent they involved sales occurring before January 1, 1978 (but after the CRRA's effective date of January 1, 1977), because those claims are not preempted by federal copyright law.

         Defendants Sotheby's and eBay have filed applications for attorneys' fees pursuant to Ninth Circuit Rule 39-1.6. They seek fees under the CRRA fee-shifting provision, which mandates a fee award to the "prevailing party in any action brought under" the CRRA. Cal. Civ. Code § 986(a)(3). Plaintiffs argue that fees are not available under the CRRA because the effect of our decision was to void the CRRA, including its fee-shifting provision. We disagree. We hold that Sotheby's and eBay are entitled to fees under the CRRA fee-shifting provision and refer the applications to the Appellate Commissioner to calculate the amount of fees to be awarded.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The background of this case is detailed in the panel's opinion. In brief, the California Resale Royalties Act of 1976 ("CRRA") required the seller of a work of fine art or the seller's agent to withhold 5% of the sale price and pay it to the artist. Cal. Civ. Code § 986(a). Artists could bring an action to enforce this requirement under the following provision:

If a seller or the seller's agent fails to pay an artist the amount equal to 5 percent of the sale of a work of fine art by the artist or fails to transfer such amount to the Arts Council, the artist may bring an action for damages within three years after the date of sale or one year after the discovery of the sale, whichever is longer. The prevailing party in any action brought under this paragraph shall be entitled to reasonable attorney fees, in an amount as determined by the court.

Id. § 986(a)(3).

         Plaintiffs filed this action against Sotheby's, Christie's, and eBay seeking royalties for resales of artwork dating back to the CRRA's January 1, 1977 effective date. After claims involving out-of-state sales were filtered out on dormant Commerce Clause grounds, see Sam Francis Found. v. Christies, Inc., 784 F.3d 1320, 1322 (9th Cir. 2015) (en banc), the parties litigated the claims involving in-state sales. The district court granted defendants' motion to dismiss those claims on two grounds: (1) the CRRA claims were preempted, and (2) eBay was not a seller subject to the CRRA.

         On appeal, we affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. Close, 894 F.3d at 1076. We held that all CRRA claims that involved sales after the effective date of the 1976 Copyright Act-January 1, 1978-were expressly preempted by the Copyright Act's preemption provision, 17 U.S.C. § 301(a). Close, 894 F.3d at 1068-72. We thus affirmed the district court's dismissal of those claims. Because this holding disposed of all claims ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.