Artist can sue UPS over lost paintings, court rules

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday that an artist can sue UPS in state court over two paintings removed from their shipping tube while in transit and sold by the company UPS contracts to handle its lost-and-found operation.

See Full Article

The court ruled that artist Ivana Vidovic Mlinar's lawsuit can go to trial, rejecting UPS' argument that federal law applies.

Mlinar didn't purchase insurance in 2005 when she shipped her paintings, "Advice" and "The Messenger," from a South Florida package store that used UPS. The paintings, which she valued at $30,000, were headed to a New York City exhibit that she saw as a major opportunity to advance her career. When the shipping tube arrived at the gallery, however, it had been cut open and was empty.

Mlinar contacted UPS, which told her it couldn't help her directly because the package store was its customer, not her - even though she had been given a UPS receipt and tracking number. The package store gave her a $100 coupon and she partly blamed herself for not buying insurance.

But the situation changed in 2007. Mara Hatfield, Mlinar's attorney, said the artist was contacted by a Missouri man who had bought "Advice" from a company, Cargo Largo. UPS contracts with that Kansas City, Missouri,-based company to handle its lost-and-found operation. Any goods Cargo Largo can't return, it gets to sell.

Hatfield said Cargo Largo sold "Advice" to the Missouri man for $1,000 - a fraction of its value. He also acquired "The Messenger" from another party. Realizing the paintings' value, he listed them on Craigslist, offering to trade them for a used Mercedes-Benz. He also contacted Mlinar, who had placed an identification sticker on the back of her paintings.

This development led Mlinar to file suit in Florida court against UPS, Cargo Largo and the packing store, alleging they had profited from criminal activity - the theft of her paintings - and had violated her copyright. She also accused UPS of deceptive trade practices by having the packing store give her a UPS receipt and make it appear she was a UPS customer.

The buyer returned the paintings in exchange for being dropped from the copyright lawsuit.

UPS argued that under a century-old federal law governing interstate shipping, lawsuits involving lost goods must be tried in federal court. The company's lawyers argued that since the two-year federal statute of limitations had expired, Mlinar couldn't sue in federal court, either.

Florida's lower courts agreed with UPS, but the state Supreme Court reinstated the lawsuit Thursday and ordered it heard. The seven members ruled Mlinar has a possible argument that her paintings weren't simply lost, but that criminal activity took place. Under those circumstances, the lawsuit can be tried in state court.

UPS spokeswoman Susan Rosenberg said Thursday that the company looks forward to trying the case and that Mlinar has not provided any evidence substantiating wrongdoing by the company.

Cargo Largo did not return a phone message seeking comment.



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Business is the reluctant hero in the minimum wage transition: Don Pittis

    Economic CBC News
    We don't give business enough credit. And sometimes it seems the lowest expectations for the ability of capitalism to adjust to changes like the rise in minimum wage come from those who claim to speak for business. Source
  • Nothing left after paying the bills, say third of respondents to a survey about debt

    Economic CBC News
    Canadians are feeling increasingly worried about their personal debt, with an increasing number close to being unable to pay the bills every month as higher interest rates start to make an impact, a new Ipsos survey suggests. Source
  • Report questions Canada's desire to protect NAFTA's Chapter 11 mechanism

    Economic CTV News
    A progressive group says it's baffled that the Canadian government has worked at the NAFTA negotiating table to protect a dispute resolution system that allows companies to sue governments, estimating it has cost Canadian taxpayers $314 million. Source
  • Asian stocks rise as investors look ahead to U.S. earnings

    Economic CTV News
    BEIJING - Asian stock markets were mostly higher Tuesday following a holiday for U.S. markets as investors look ahead to American corporate earnings. KEEPING SCORE: The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.4 per cent to 3,425.03 and Tokyo's Nikkei 225 added 0.7 per cent to 23,882.23. Source
  • China's GAC to scrap 'Trumpchi' brand for U.S. car market

    Economic CTV News
    DETROIT -- Chinese automaker GAC Motor will scrap the brand name it uses in China when it enters the U.S. market next year because it could be confused with U.S. President Donald Trump's surname. For the past eight years, GAC has sold cars and SUVs under the brand Trumpchi in its home market, but is now researching new names before the company's expected U.S. Source
  • 6 Canadian banks manipulated an interest rate benchmark, U.S. lawsuit alleges

    Economic CTV News
    WHITE PLANES, N.Y. -- A class-action lawsuit filed in a U.S. court alleges six Canadian banks and three others conspired to increase the profitability of their derivatives trading business by manipulating an interest rate benchmark for about seven years. Source
  • National Bank lowers revenue growth expectations for Cineplex, cuts price target

    Economic CBC News
    Even the recent release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi couldn't keep Cineplex Inc. shares from tumbling nearly four per cent Monday after an analyst forecasted a rocky 2018 for the company. The fall came after the National Bank of Canada cut its price target for the entertainment company's shares as the bank lowered expectations for box office revenues and concession sales on Monday. Source
  • Survey finds 1/3 of Canadians can't pay monthly bills as rates set to rise

    Economic CTV News
    CALGARY -- A new survey suggests a third of Canadians can't pay their monthly bills, including debt repayments, against a backdrop of rising interest rates. The quarterly MNP consumer debt index survey finds the number of Canadians who can't cover their fixed monthly expenses is up eight points since September. Source
  • BlackBerry unveils new security tool at debut appearance at Detroit auto show

    Economic CTV News
    DETROIT -- BlackBerry Ltd. (TSX:BB) is launching a new security tool for automobile manufacturers, one of the company's major areas of growth. Executive chairman John Chen says the new BlackBerry Jarvis will scan all software components in a vehicle within minutes to predict and fix vulnerabilities. Source
  • Tahoe Resources cutting 250 jobs at Guatemala silver mine amid legal fight

    Economic CBC News
    Tahoe Resources Inc. says it has cut 250 jobs at its Escobal silver mine in Guatemala as a legal battle to reopen the mine drags on. The company says it was forced to suspend operations at the mine last July after the Supreme Court of Guatemala issued a provisional decision that the country's ministry of mines did not properly consult with the Xinca Indigenous people before granting the Escobal licence. Source