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Perelman's suit against art dealer Gagosian is dismissed

A lawsuit filed by billionaire art collector Ronald Perelman against art megadealer Larry Gagosian was dismissed Thursday by an appeals court.

A five-judge panel ruled unanimously against Perelman's claim that he was duped by Gagosian in a series of multimillion-dollar transactions.

"The complaint does not establish that (Gagosian) exercised control and dominance over plaintiffs (Perelman's art fund)—who by their own description frequently purchased, sold and exchanged works of art as investments," the decision said.

Larry Gagosian (L) and Ron Perelman (R).
The Image Gate | Getty Images (L) | CNBC (R).
Larry Gagosian (L) and Ron Perelman (R).

It continued: "These sophisticated plaintiffs cannot demonstrate reasonable reliance because they conducted no due diligence; for example, they did not ask defendants 'Show us your market data.'"

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Perelman and Gagosian sued each other in 2012 over a series of deals involving works by Jeff Koons, Cy Twombly and Richard Serra. The suit marked a rare and highly public split between one of the world's top collectors and one of the top art dealers. The two had also been close friends and business partners.

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Perelman claimed Gagosian undervalued certain works he was selling and over-inflated prices for works he purchased. Gagosian claimed Perleman refused to adequately pay for certain works.

Christine Taylor, a spokeswoman for Perelman, said the collector is considering his legal options.

"While we are reviewing our appellate remedies and other options, it is obvious that this is no vindication for Mr. Gagosian," Taylor said. "To the contrary, while the court decided that we were not entitled to rely on Gagosian, it did not conclude that he did not act fraudulently. Indeed, when it comes to the art market, apparently it's buyer beware and when it comes to Larry Gagosian, it's buyer be damned. "

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Gagosian's attorney, Matthew S. Dontzin, said: "We are gratified that the court unanimously dismissed this case, supporting our view that's in keeping with Perelman's lengthy history of unsuccessfully trying to use the courts to bully his business associates. This lawsuit was filed as a shameless pretext for Perelman's refusal to pay what he owed the gallery."