A class action lawsuit was filed today against Park West Gallery, Inc., PWG Florida, Inc., Vista Fine Art, LLC d/b/a Park West at Sea, and Albert Scaglione (Docket No. 09-cv-11392). Park West Gallery, Inc. is located and headquartered in Southfield, Michigan and is the largest operator of art auctions on cruise ships in the United States.
The class action alleges a Class consisting of all persons who purchased artwork while attending one of Park West's shipboard art auctions conducted on famous cruise lines: Regent Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Carnival, Norwegian, Oceana, Disney and Holland America.
The complaint seeks damages and other appropriate relief for the Class and charges the Defendants with violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act ("RICO"), 18 U.S.C. Section 1961, state consumer protection laws, breach of contract, breach of warranty and the common law.
Plaintiffs allege that defendants operated a fraudulent scheme to target the naive art purchaser by touting that the artwork sold at these shipboard auctions were good investments that would appraise for many more times the purchase price, when, in fact, the artwork plaintiffs received was either of low value, worthless or fake. The complaint also alleges that Park West sold phony appraisals to art purchasers, and that Park West conducted its on-board art auctions while cruise ships were traveling in international waters in an effort to avoid application of state consumer protection laws to its illegal activities.