This is another interesting case, which is subject to a thoughtful article by Katelyn Sprague at Baker McKenzie.
The case, Accent Delight Int'l Ltd. v. Sotheby's, No. 18-cv-09011 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 8, 2020), revolved around Sotheby's involvement in an alleged scheme by Yves Bouvier, to defraud the Plaintiffs of approximately one billion dollars in connection with the purchase of a world-class art collection. Although this is a very interesting subject in its own right, my interest was piqued by the mention of a subpoena request for documents that related to a previous mediated settlement involving the defendants and the original seller of some of the artwork in the collection.
The court held that in order for this request to be allowed then three criteria, which had previously been set out in In re Teligent, Inc., must be met:
(1) a special need for the confidential material
(2) resulting unfairness from a lack of discovery, and
(3) that the need for the evidence outweighs the interest in maintaining confidentiality.
This is an interesting case which emphasises some of the complexities that can exist in litigation. It is important that these are appropriately considered during any eDiscovery exercise. As I often say, it is essential to ensure that appropriate measures are taken to identify direct and indirect materials that would be covered by situations such as this.
Plaintiffs were not the only ones who, upon learning about Bouvier's markup, felt aggrieved about Sotheby's role in the Christ as Salvator Mundi transaction. Prior to the present lawsuit, Sotheby's filed a separate lawsuit against the original sellers of Christ as Salvator Mundi (the "da Vinci Sellers") seeking a declaratory judgment that Sotheby's did not breach its obligations to them in connection with the sale of the painting. The parties to that lawsuit entered into private mediation subject to an agreement of confidentiality and ultimately settled their dispute.