Monday, March 4, 2024

Chapman Kelley vs. Chicago Park District Oral Arguments Today (update #2)

The Chapman Kelley vs. Chicago Park District oral arguments are being held today, at 9:30 Chicago time. The three 7th Circuit Judges have just been announced, and it looks like we’ll have to keep waiting for a Posner/Easterbrook VARA opinion.
The three sitting judges for this case are Daniel A. Manion, Diane S. Sykes, and John D. Tinder. You may view the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals website here.

As our readers well know, this is an extremely important case that can radically alter how the 1990 Visual Artists Rights Act is applied to installation art. We’ll keep updating this post as we hear back from our correspondents in Chicago.
Previous posts on this case can be found here and here.

UPDATE: September 11, 2009
The oral arguments can be heard here. They’re a bit lengthy but promising to Chapman Kelley. Stating that the originality factor is a low threshold, the court seemed unconcerned by the CPD’s attempt at making an unoriginal mountain out of an original molehill. More importanly, it also seems like the court, particularly Judge Sykes, was adamant about binding law. To the stuttering of the CPD’s attorney, Judge Sykes basically stated that the Phillips First Circuit decision was not binding on the Seventh Circuit. Listen to the oral arguments and decide for yourself.

UPDATE: September 18, 2009
Chapman Kelley’s lead attorney, Alex Karan, has some thoughts on the oral arguments:
(We at Clancco wish Alex all the best and a healthy and speedy recovery. Hang in there Alex!)

Some of you may recall one of my pro-bono cases, involving the rights of a famous artist. We had briefed the case months earlier and now it was time for oral argument. My good friend Micah argued the case in front of the Seventh Circuit — it made a lot of sense for him to do this rather than me. And he was fantastic! Plus, what became clear during the argument was that the judges had already made up their minds in our favor. For each argument that the City lawyer raised, the Court responded with one of the arguments that we had briefed and made clear that they thought the City was dead wrong. As difficult as it was to make it to the courthouse, it was a delight watching all of the work on this case reach fruition. And it will really be exciting to get an opinion from the Seventh Circuit that affects the rights of artists across the country.


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