Originally published by David Coale.
The Gagosian Gallery – for reasons not explained in the opinion, but doubtless interesting ones – wanted to display a work of art that featured a tower of 101 identical gold bars. For approximately $3 million, it contracted to buy the gold from Stanford Coins and Bullion (“SCB”), owned by the now-disgraced Allen Stanford. SCB in turn contracted with Dillon Gage, a wholesale gold supplier, to ship the gold directly to the gallery. SCB forwarded payment to Dillon Gage, who applied to a balance that the gallery had with Dillon Gage as a result of unrelated transactions.
Before the shipment was made, however, the Stanford empire collapsed. When the dust settled, the gallery sued Dillon Gage, alleging that it was a third-party beneficiary of its contract with SCB. The case went to a jury trial and a verdict for Dillon Gage, and the Fifth Circuit affirmed, finding no error in the jury instructions and sufficient evidence to support the verdict. Page 5 of the opinion details the facts, which offer a classic illustration of the roles of knowledge and industry custom in determining contract liability. Pre-War Art, Inc. v. Stanford Coins & Bullion, No. 15-10033 (Feb. 29, 2016, unpublished).
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