SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court has resurrected a Jewish family’s long legal battle to regain ownership of a $20 million masterpiece seized in Nazi Germany during World War II.
In a ruling Monday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a California law allowing lawsuits over art ownership disputes dating back as far as 100 years. The decision reversed a lower court ruling that invalidated the law.
At issue is an impressionistic painting by Lilly Cassirer exchanged in 1939 for about $360 and a visa to flee Nazi Germany.
The Spanish government ended up with the painting, and Cassirer’s grandson filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles federal court in 2005 to recover it. The case now returns to a Los Angeles trial court.