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

  • First round of NAFTA talks wrap in Washington

    Economic CBC News
    Canada, the United States and Mexico wrapped up their first round of talks Sunday to revamp the NAFTA trade pact, vowing to keep up a blistering pace of negotiations that some involved in the process said may be too fast to bridge deep differences. Source
  • Apple under pressure to dazzle as market slows

    Economic CTV News
    As Apple and Samsung gear up to launch new flagship smartphones, the market leaders are seeking a wow factor that can help them fend off challenges from rising Chinese-based manufacturers. Apple is under particular pressure to dazzle as the culture-changing California iPhone maker looks for a way to maintain its image as an innovation leader in a global market showing signs of slowing. Source
  • From panhandlers to street musicians, not everyone is ready for cashless society

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- The sound of Anthony Lovison's singing echoes through the corridors of the Montreal subway, reaching commuters' ears long before they see the young brown-haired man and his guitar. Barely a minute into "Heaven's Door," a man walks up with a smile and throws 50 cents into Lovison's open guitar case -- the first customer of the day. Source
  • Eclipse eye safety and airline phone scams: CBC's Marketplace consumer cheat sheet

    Economic CBC News
    Miss something this week? Here's the consumer news you need to know from CBC's Marketplace. Get this in your inbox every Friday. Sign up here. Protect your eyes during the eclipse Planning on watching the eclipse Monday? Regular sunglasses won't be enough to protect your eyes. Source
  • Canadian re-commerce company LXRandCo taking luxury vintage shopping into the future

    Economic CBC News
    You've probably heard of e-commerce. But what about re-commerce? It's the business of buying and selling used items. There's a Canadian company, LXRandCo, that's carving out a niche for itself in this category. It deals in the vintage luxury market, which is growing 14 per cent every year, according to the experts at Canaccord Genuity, a financial services company. Source
  • Canada open to completing NAFTA talks in short order

    Economic CBC News
    Canadian negotiators are open to working on a timeline proposed by the U.S. to complete NAFTA renegotiations before the end of the year, CBC News has learned. A government source, speaking on background, tells CBC News that Canada is willing to work quickly, but will not agree to a bad deal for the sake of meeting a deadline. Source
  • U.S. wants NAFTA talks to wrap up before year's end, but is it possible?

    Economic CBC News
    Canadian negotiators are open to working on a timeline proposed by the U.S. to complete NAFTA renegotiations before the end of the year, CBC News has learned. A government source, speaking on background, tells CBC News that Canada is willing to work quickly, but will not agree to a bad deal for the sake of meeting a deadline. Source
  • B.C. premier and jobs minister sued by fired LNG advocate claiming $5M

    Economic CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- British Columbia's fired liquefied natural gas advocate is suing Premier John Horgan, the province's jobs minister and a New Democrat MP in a lawsuit claiming $5 million in damages. Gordon Wilson alleges in a statement of claim filed in B.C. Source
  • Millennials in Atlantic Canada most optimistic about owning homes

    Economic CTV News
    Do millennials think they can afford to buy a home? If they live in Atlantic Canada, the answer is a lot more likely to be yes. That’s according to a new online survey of 1,000 Canadians aged 25 to 30, conducted by Leger Marketing from real estate firm Royal LePage. Source
  • Can millennials afford to buy a home? It depends where they live

    Economic CTV News
    Do millennials think they can afford to buy a home? If they live in Atlantic Canada, the answer is a lot more likely to be yes. That’s according to a new online survey of 1,000 Canadians aged 25 to 30, conducted by Leger Marketing from real estate firm Royal LePage. Source