$49 Million Damage Award Falls Short for Famed Pop Artist Peter Max

Steven T. Lowe

House destroyed by the passage of a hurricane in Florida

On March 11th, 2021, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a bid from artist Peter Max to modify a $49 million arbitration award against Great American Security Co. and Interested Underwriters at Lloyds (“The Insurers”) in an insurance dispute.

The insurance dispute results from Superstorm Sandy, where the 2012 hurricane led to the damage of millions of dollars worth of his famous artwork. Max, a German-American artist, is a pop culture icon who revolutionized the concept of modern art in the United States. Best known for his psychedelic style of painting and use of bright, vibrant colors, Max is regarded as one of the most famous living American artists.

Max’s artwork has been a pop-cultural symbol for decades. But according to the court documents, thousands of Max’s iconic paintings, posters, and other works were damaged after the NJ warehouse where he kept his art flooded during the superstorm.

In 2019, Superior Court Judge John D. O’Dwyer ruled in favor of Max and against The Insurers by confirming the $49 million monetary award. However, Max claimed that the $49 million insurance award is too low and appealed the decision.

The three-judge appellate panel determined that his appeal was prohibited under the state’s Alternative Procedure for Dispute Resolution Act and, as a result, nixed his bid to increase the $49 million arbitration award.

Judges Joseph L. Yannotti, Hany Mawla, and Arnold L. Natali Jr. sat on the panel for the Appellate Division.

Max is represented by Bradley J. Nash of Schlam Stone & Dolan LLP and Jane A. Grinch and Steven Siegel of Cullen and Dykman LLP.

Great American is represented by Philip C. Silverberg and Craig R. Rygiel of Mound Cotton Wollan & Greengrass LLP.

Lloyds is represented by Adam P. Stark, Benjamin A. Fleischner and Kirsten J. Orr of Fleischner Potash LLP.

Peter Max et al. v. Great American Security Co. et al., case number A-0042-19, is in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division.

* Lowe & Associates (“The Firm”) is an entertainment and business law firm located in Beverly Hills, California. The Firm has extensive experience handling cases involving art law, having provided top-quality legal services to its clients since 1991. The Firm is recognized for its many achievements, including successfully litigating many high-profile cases.

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