RMS Titanic A Legal Update by Gavin Murphy

Jan C. Nielsen

Senior Member
Dec 12, 1999
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So, Gavin, it looks like the 4th Circuit will let them sell the Titanic stuff. Am I correct on that? That doesn't mean it will happen. District Courts are jealous of their power. Obviously, this court is not favorable to RMS Titanic. It may find a way to stall the sale of artifacts -- despite the 4th Circuit's intervention. However, if RMS Titanic gets a favorable ruling from the 4th Circuit, it seems to me that the company's stock price will skyrocket and they're going to become flush with money in anticipation of sales of original Titanic artifacts. What do you think?
 
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Gavin Murphy

Guest
Hi J,

Well I am not sure what the position of the court will be at this point. If I were going to take a punt on it, I would suggest they will NOT let them sell off the artifacts piecemeal. I find it interesting that the appeal court refers to RMST as trustees........for whom? The general public?

If they are not the owners, but merely trustees, they cannot arbitrarily sell. But they can and should be compensated for their efforts to this point. I have no problems with that. Maybe someone who is more solvent should step up and RMST should sell its interests to them....at a tidy little profit for sure.

These are my thoughts only.

G
 

Jan C. Nielsen

Senior Member
Dec 12, 1999
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Hi Gavin,

I reviewed your "update" article. You state that: "Any sale to satisfy this lien must be to a third party who is prepared to keep the artifacts together as a single collection and publicly display them."

That statement reflects the present status, but not necessarily the future status --- of the artifacts. The Fourth Circuit says that keeping the collection together appears reasonable as a condition on the salvor-in-possession . Both the district court and the court of appeals appear to be open to other proposals, however.

It seems to me that what the court of appeals is saying it that after RMST forecloses on its salvor's lien -- it's a whole new ball game. All of RMST's business necessity arguments were rejected as premature, in section "C" of the opinion. They weren't rejected outright. Depending on what makes the best business sense, the courts may ultimately allow either a sale of the whole collection, or piecemeal sales.

Take care,

Jan
 
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Gavin Murphy

Guest
Hi J!

Thanx for this.

I think you are right re: the present and it is a little premature to speculate on the future. Both courts have said they want to see a business plan before proceeding further. Therefore, before foreclosing on the lien, they must present a reasonable plan to the court. As it now stands the appeal court SPECIFICALLY confirmed the 26 Sept. 2001 order which specifically makes reference to selling off piecemeal.

I think the "collection" is safe for now.

The status quo remains. The future? Who knows?

That's why we have lawyers, non?

G
 
Jul 10, 2005
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Oh Jan!
What can be done to stop this??? CAn we petetion the court, talk to the case attorneys, or do you think that we should concentrate on finding a buyer to keep the collection together if it comes down to this sale?? That way if the collection does get sold in pieces, maybe that buyer can make an outright offer for all, or get the pieces as they become available for sale?

Am I talking silly here Jan? You are the expert in this field and I trust your advice.

Hope all is well for you,

Beverly
 
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Gavin Murphy

Guest
B!

While I am not Jan and I am certainly no expert in this area, I would not press the panic button quite yet.

The collection is safe and any sale must be approved by the fed. court in Norfolk. The court does not want to see pieces sold off separately. See the 26 Sept. '01 order.

RMST was on record at the time of the appeal decision suggesting that it is prepared to consider a sale of the artifacts to someone as a complete COLLECTION. See my article posted here on ET for the exact quote, etc.

All is well.......trust me!

Happy to discuss further.

G