The 2008 class action lawsuit filed against Park West Gallery involved purchases of fine art pieces. The plaintiffs alleged the gallery misrepresented appraisals of art pieces it sold. Based on the inflated appraisals, customers paid significantly more than the items were worth, according to Jori Finkel for The New York Times.
Park West Gallery sold art on numerous cruise ships. Many shipboard purchasers were first-time art buyers who possessed limited knowledge of values, states Finkel. The plaintiffs purchased their art objects at shipboard auctions hosted by Park West Gallery. Passengers based their bidding on the appraised value of the pieces, which was printed on the back of each item.
Once they returned home, the purchasers discovered the items were worth only a fraction of the purchase price. Several purchasers unsuccessfully attempted to obtain refunds from Park West Gallery, leading them to file lawsuits. The controversy raised questions about the ethics of cruise ship art auctions, explains Finkel.
The gallery's legal battles continued when it filed a defamation lawsuit against Fine Art Registry, reports Zac Bissonnette for Daily Finance. In a series of articles and videos, Fine Art Registry attacked the gallery's sales tactics. Park West Gallery claims the attacks hurt its reputation, leading to a loss in revenue.