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Wendy Reves's Son and the Fine Art of Trying to Keep the Court From Tossing His DMA Suit

Portrait of Mrs. Emery Reves by Graham Sutherland, 1978
Portrait of Mrs. Emery Reves by Graham Sutherland, 1978
Dallas Museum of Art

When first we noted in March that Wendy Russell Reves's only child, Arnold Leon Schroeder Jr., was suing the Dallas Museum of Art and former UT Southwestern president Kern Wildenthal, it was, for a moment, Big News -- big enough, even, for The New York Times. Schroeder, of course, is claiming he and not the museum should have ownership of the masterpieces that make up the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection. And, of course, he is claiming Wildenthal and others plied Wendy, "a chronic alcoholic," with enough drink to convince her to part with several million donated to the hospital. The DMA and UT Southwestern issued their indignant denials -- first in press release form; then, three months later, in motions to dismiss that dismiss Schroeder as an unsympathetic footnote trying to "bootstrap a conspiracy theory" where there is none.

That was more than two months ago; since then the case has puttered along out of sight, settling into the dull rhythm of legal-filing call-and-response. I'd forgotten all about it. But, yesterday, a Friend of Unfair Park asked via email: "What is the latest with the DMA/Reves/Schroeder lawsuit? For some reason I am obsessed with the Reves collection and the case." And so I lifted the case jacket for the docs that follow -- one filed two weeks ago, another only yesterday.

In the first, Schroeder, through his attorneys (including a certain former WFAA reporter), asks the court to knock down the motion to to dismiss, insisting the DMA and UT Southwestern are attempting to "divert the Court's attention from the substantive issues and law that govern this stage of the proceedings by throwing stones at Schroeder." He then turns to French law, insisting that upon Wendy's death in '07, he automatically became the "forced heir" entitled to 30 years' worth of restitution. "Before Schroeder became Wendy's forced heir," says the filing, "the DMA, through the individual Defendants, took property and millions of dollars, doing all they could along the way to avoid the anticipated impact of French law."

Yesterday, the Dallas Museum of Art responded by dismissing Schroeder's claims as "strained," "laboring," "a red herring" based on "pre-Civil War case law." As far as the DMA's concerned, he simply has no standing to even bring such a case in the first place -- and even if he did, well, the statute of limitations expired long ago. "Evidently," says the filing, "he is trying to fit a square peg (tortious interference with inheritance rights allegations) into a round hole (constructive fraud claim), because he does not have a square hole (tortious interference with inheritance rights claim)." The filings follow, by request.

Update at 4:59 p.m.: About two hours ago, attorneys representing Kern Wildenthal filed their response to Schroeder's claims. Long story short: His are "outrageous claims" demanding "dismissal with prejudice." That doc now follows, along with the others.

Arnold Leon Schroeder Jr. Response

DMA Response to Schroeder August 18
Dkt. 34_Reply to Plaintiff's Response to Defendants' Motions to Dismiss

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