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Peter Paul Biro's Libel Lawsuit

Peter Paul Biro's Libel Lawsuit

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Supplemental complaint filed by controversial art authenticator Peter Paul Biro in U.S. District Court against several publications.
Supplemental complaint filed by controversial art authenticator Peter Paul Biro in U.S. District Court against several publications.

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Published by: Lee Rosenbaum, CultureGrrl on Dec 13, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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02/04/2013

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LAW OFFICE OF RICHARD A. ALTMANAttorneys for Plaintiff 285 West Fourth StreetNew York, New York 10014212.633.0123altmanlaw@earthlink.netartesq@earthlink.netUNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTSOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK------------------------------------------------------------xPETER PAUL BIRO,Plaintiff,
SECOND AMENDED ANDSUPPLEMENTAL COMPLAINT
-against-11-cv-4442 (JPO)CONDÉ NAST, a division of ADVANCE MAGAZINE PUBLISHERS INC.,Plaintiff demands trial by juryDAVID GRANN,of all issues so triable.LOUISE BLOUIN MEDIA INC.,GLOBAL FINE ART REGISTRY LLC,THERESA FRANKS,BUSINESS INSIDER, INC.,GAWKER MEDIA LLC,INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF MUSEUMS,GEORGIA MUSEUM OF ART andPADDY JOHNSON,Defendants.------------------------------------------------------------xPlaintiff PETER PAUL BIRO, by his attorneys, Law Office of Richard A. Altman, forhis second amended and supplemental complaint against the defendants, alleges as follows:-1-
Case 1:11-cv-04442-JPO -KNF Document 27 Filed 12/05/11 Page 1 of 44
 
INTRODUCTION
1. This is an action for libel arising from the publication of an article of, about andconcerning the plaintiff Peter Paul Biro, written by defendant David Grann. The article waspublished in the New Yorker Magazine, published by defendant Condé Nast, a division of defendant Advance Magazine Publishers Inc. (“Advance”), in its issue dated July 12 and 19, 2010(“the Article”).2. Taken as a whole, the Article is false and defamatory. It has been widely circulated andcommented upon in the art world and elsewhere, and has caused, and continues to cause,enormous damage to plaintiff’s reputation, to his business and to his health.3. In addition, plaintiff has incurred special damages as a direct result of the falsestatements of defendants Advance and Grann.4. Because of the prominence of the New Yorker Magazine, many of the false statementscontained in the Article have been republished by the other defendants both before and afterthe commencement of this action.5. Those republications have exacerbated the damage to plaintiff’s reputation caused bythe original publication, and plaintiff is asserting claims against some of the entities andindividuals who have both republished the original defamatory statements and uttered additionaldefamatory statements of their own, based upon the false statements in the Article.
THE PARTIES, JURISDICTION AND VENUE
6. Plaintiff Peter Paul Biro is a resident and citizen of Montreal, Canada.-2-
Case 1:11-cv-04442-JPO -KNF Document 27 Filed 12/05/11 Page 2 of 44
 
7. He is by profession a forensic scientist, specializing in the use of fingerprinttechnology to assist in the resolution of issues of authenticity in works of art. He trained andpracticed as a conservator, but some years ago began to study artists’ fingerprints, and inparticular on a painting which was possibly by J.M.W. Turner.8. Plaintiff discovered a fingerprint on the painting, and this led him to question whethertraditional methods for attribution of works of art could be supplemented by more scientificmeans.9. By comparing the fingerprint found in the painting to another he found in a knownTurner work, he provided strong evidence that the painting was indeed an authentic Turner.The finding was corroborated by established fingerprint experts at the time.10. The authentication process leading up to its sale was conducted by the auction housePhillips in London, and the attribution is now generally accepted.11. Since then plaintiff has continued to evolve his methodology and has documentedfingerprints from the works of other noted artists. As a leading authority in this emerging field,plaintiff’s services have been retained in a number of challenging authentication studies forcollections and private clients worldwide.12. Plaintiff has lectured at Harvard University, the Yale Club in New York, the NationalPortrait Gallery in London, and the University of Glasgow in Scotland.. He has also publishedarticles in scientific journals, including one entitled “Forensics and Microscopy in AuthenticatingWorks of Art” in the journal of the Royal Microscopical Society, Oxford, England. He has beeninterviewed for a feature-length documentary “Who the #$&% is Jackson Pollock?,” two BBC-3-
Case 1:11-cv-04442-JPO -KNF Document 27 Filed 12/05/11 Page 3 of 44

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