Wednesday, October 24, 2012

SLAM Litigants Move Toward Resolving Ka Nefer Nefer Mummy Mask Case

The St. Louis Art Museum (SLAM), the United States government, and the Republic of Egypt appear to be in discussions to settle the contest over title to the mummy mask of Ka Nefer Nefer. Last week the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Missouri filed an unopposed motion with the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals asking for filing deadlines to be held in abeyance in the case. The court granted the motion.

The federal government's October 17 motion tells the court that "the parties believe that continued discussions will be productive and that there is a significant possibility that they will reach a resolution that would obviate the need for the appeal to continue."  The appeals court was notified that "the United States must consult further with the Solicitor General, the Department of State, and the government of the Republic of Egypt before it can propose or agree to any potential settlement terms."

U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan appealed the mummy forfeiture case in June after a federal district court denied the government's efforts to seize and forfeit the Ka Nefer Nefer mask from SLAM.  The federal government alleges that the mask was stolen from Egypt and is in the United States in violation of the law.  SLAM asserts that they are the rightful owners of the artifact.  SLAM filed a declaratory action in February 2011 to gain quiet title to the mask followed by the U.S. Attorney's petition for forfeiture in March 2011.


This post is researched, written, and published on the blog Cultural Heritage Lawyer Rick St. Hilaire at culturalheritagelawyer.blogspot.com. Text copyrighted 2012 by Ricardo A. St. Hilaire, Attorney & Counselor at Law, PLLC. Any unauthorized reproduction or retransmission of this post is prohibited. CONTACT: www.culturalheritagelawyer.com