New York dealer to pay $325,000 to settle legal dispute with violinist

Tuesday, 03 September 2013

New York violin dealer Emmanuel Gradoux-Matt has agreed to pay $325,000 to a violinist who sued him for allegedly losing her instrument while it was on consignment.

South Korean violinist Kyung-Ah Yang had been seeking $400,000 in damages to compensate for the loss of her 1837 J.F. Pressenda, as well as a further $400,000 in punitive damages.

A lawsuit filed on her behalf on 26 March of this year detailed that she had originally consigned the violin in 1998 with New York shop René Morel Rare Violins, where Gradoux-Matt worked at the time. According to the suit, the firm was to sell the instrument for $285,000, but could not find a buyer.

In 2011, said the suit, Yang wanted to retrieve her violin from Gradoux-Matt, who had by then split from Morel and formed his own firm, Gradoux-Matt Rare Violins. The suit alleged that Yang's requests to see the instrument were 'repeatedly ignored, dismissed or avoided', and that in January 2013, with the violin now valued at around $400,000, Gradoux-Matt informed Yang that 'he had let an individual in New York borrow [her] violin for a trial, and the individual never returned'.

The suit continued: 'It appears that Gradoux-Matt conducted no background check, did not request any deposit or other security mechanism or take any other precaution to ensure that [Yang's] violin would not be stolen.'

According to court documents filed on 23 August, Gradoux-Matt and Yang agreed a compromise settlement sum of $325,000, to be paid within 14 days. Both parties are responsible for their own legal costs, and the court document also included a 'No Prejudice' statement that the settlement agreement should not be construed as an admission of any liability or guilt.

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That is absolutely disgusting. No one should ever go to Emmanuel Gradoux-Matt ever again.

16:32 - Tuesday, 03 September 2013
Peter Moore

Don't believe everything you read...these violins were stolen that's true, but the lawsuit is about the owners trying to bilk more money out of the insurance company. This can happen to any dealer.

17:24 - Wednesday, 04 September 2013

Emmanuel was not necessarily fraudulent, more likely rather naive and following a practice of trusting musicians far beyond the reasonable. About 15 years ago I took home a 20,000 dollar violin on trial from a dealer who had never met me before, didn't need any personal information other than my name and phone nr. The only reason he trusted me was our conversation about local music faculty and instruments and me playing some fiddles. Same happened at another dealer who knew me a little better. The Vedral shop in the Hague reportedly lost numerous instruments to musicians that were on trial for years and never returned. As a student I loaned 2 violas there without any guarantees; to my shame I have to say the second I kept for about 6 months before I brought it back. No fuss whatsoever on their part.

18:32 - Friday, 06 September 2013


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