Norton Simon Defense Team Earns CLAY Award

Munger, Tolles & Olson attorneys Luis Li, Fred A. Rowley, Jr., E. Martin Estrada and Eric P. Tuttle earned a California Lawyer Attorney of the Year (CLAY) award by the Daily Journal on March 15, 2017. The team, which also included Ronald L. Olson, Justin P. Raphael and Kuruvilla J. Olasa, was recognized for its success in obtaining summary judgment for the Norton Simon Museum in litigation challenging the institution’s ownership of two 16th-Century works of art.

Describing the legal dispute as having “all the makings of a historical art heist film,” the article outlined the artwork’s winding path from Europe to the United States and the lawsuit’s decade-long journey to resolution.

“The bottom line is because of its unique history, because of the fact that it involves both a Bolshevik looting and a forced sale by the Nazis, and because the prior owners availed themselves of a bonafide restitution system and specifically declined to claim these paintings, we felt the moral and legal situation compelled us to defend the claim,” Mr. Li said.

Munger, Tolles & Olson represents some of the most well-known and respected arts and culture organizations in the country on complex matters including alleged violations of cultural patrimony laws, sensitive financial issues and strategic corporate transactions.