Judge turns down request from woman's attorney in Renoir case

A federal court judge has turned down a request to throw out two documents that support the Baltimore Museum of Art's contention that it should be awarded an 1879 Renoir landscape, "Paysage Bords de Seine."

The attorney for Marcia "Martha" Fuqua, a Virginia woman battling the BMA for ownership of the painting, had asked U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema not to consider declarations the museum included in a filing on Dec. 31. Made by Emily Rafferty, the museum's head librarian and archivist, and Frances Klapthor, the museum's registrar, the declarations address the circumstances under which the museum discovered a 1937 loan receipt and a catalog card for the artwork.

The documents were the most recent salvo related to the museum's request for a summary judgment — asking the judge to award the painting to the arts institution without going to trial. Representing Fuqua, attorney T. Wayne Biggs had argued that he had been unable to scrutinize the declarations in his official objection to the museum's summary judgment motion, which was due Dec. 20.

The judge ruled that the declarations were used to rebut arguments raised by Biggs, and did not constitute new evidence, as he claimed. Biggs has until 5 p.m. Thursday to file a written objection to the declarations.


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