Novack and Macey’s P. Andrew Fleming, Andrew Shelby and Devon Holstad represented the Union League Club of Chicago (ULC) in a dispute with a fine art company that claimed it had an agreement to purchase a prized 1872 Monet, “Apple Trees in Blossom,” painting from the ULC for $7.2 million.

Plaintiff alleged that in 2020, a Union League Club member approached the President of the Club about selling the Monet painting.  Plaintiff further alleged that the Club’s President informed this member that the Club’s Board of Directors had agreed to sell immediately the Monet Painting for the highest and best offer above $6.5 million, provided the buyer would continue to allow the Painting to be displayed at the Art Institute of Chicago in conformance with pre-existing arrangements between the Club and the Art Institute.  

On January 12, 2021, the Club’s General Manager sent an email to the member asking that the member submit a best and final offer for the painting by a date and time certain.  By letter dated January 15, 2021, Plaintiff submitted an offer which it later claimed constituted an “acceptance” of the ULC’s “offer” on January 12, 2021.

The Union League argued that the January 12 email was nothing more than a request for a “best and final offer,” and that the January 15 letter was merely an offer to buy and was not in any way an “acceptance” of any purported “offer” from the ULC to sell the painting.

Plaintiff sued the ULC for specific performance and fraud.

Novack and Macey, on behalf of the Union League Club, moved for Judgment on the Pleadings on both counts and on March 17, 2021, the Circuit Court of Cook County granted the motion and entered final judgment in favor of Defendant, finding that the January 12 email contained no materially false statements and was merely a “solicitation for an offer,” and that further, the letter from January 15 could not have been an acceptance as there was never an “offer to accept.”  According to Andrew Fleming, Novack and Macey’s client is “pleased” with the Court’s decision.