Like Old Man River, the Barnes Dispute Jes’ Keeps Rolling Along

Just when it appeared that the saga of the Barnes’ Foundation collection of art was resolved, an appeal of Judge Stanley Ott’s decision, which permits the collection to move from Lower Merion to the Parkway in Philadelphia, was filed. Jay Raymond is a former student and teacher at the Barnes, and he filed the appeal with the Superior Court.

Although the appeal was filed with the proper court, the Foundation filed a “King’s Bench brief” in which it requested that the appeal be removed from the Superior Court to the highest state Court, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The purpose was to eliminate the delay that would come with an appeal from the Superior to the Supreme Court. Attorneys for the Foundation also requested expedited arguments to obtain a decision as quickly as possible; apparently the arrangement with the City and charitable groups which have agreed to fund the new building are fragile and at risk if there were to be extensive delay.

The Court has agreed to hear the case and has scheduled arguments for this month. Since the Court has agreed to the extraordinary step of taking the appeal from the Superior Court and expediting arguments (which easily could take six months or more in a non-expedited matter), it appears to be a safe bet that a decision will be rendered in early summer.

— Ken Butera

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