Last year, a Mesopotamian cuneiform tablet bearing part of the Epic of Gilgamesh, thought to be the oldest work of literature in history, was confiscated from the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. Today, it sits in a Department of Homeland Security warehouse in New York, the subject of both a civil forfeiture action filed by U.S. federal authorities, who hope to return the artifact to Iraq, and a suit filed on Tuesday in the Eastern District of New York by Hobby Lobby against Christie’s, which sold the tablet to the arts and craft business in 2014.
If you haven’t heard the story, it’s quite a tale. The first half of the story discusses Gilgamesh, king of Uruk, and Enkidu, a wild man created by the gods to stop Gilgamesh from oppressing the people of Uruk. After Enkidu becomes civilized through sexual initiation with a prostitute, he travels to Uruk, where he challenges Gilgamesh to a test of strength. Gilgamesh wins the contest; nonetheless, the two become friends. The second half finds Gilgamesh undertaking a long and perilous journey to discover the secret of eternal life. He eventually learns that “Life, which you look for, you will never find.”
But you WILL find a lawsuit or two. According to the suit filed by U.S. federal authorities, the tablet was “pillaged” from Iraq and brought to the United States in violation of the National Stolen Property Act, which restricts the importation of antiquities from Iraq after 1990. Christie’s is accused of misrepresenting the provenance that was made available when the tablet sold to Hobby Lobby for $1.6 million.
“The U.S. government’s forfeiture of the Tablet renders the Tablet unsalable and worthless to Hobby Lobby,” the suit reads. Hobby Lobby is now seeking to recover the price paid for its purchase.
And they say we don’t have epic tales of our own anymore! Even amongst the world’s oldest known writings, people will find a reason to fight! And when those legal disputes affect YOU and YOUR business including landlord/tenant matters, contract issues, unlawful tenant suits, nuisance ADA claims and even collections, call in the good guy business litigator Dean Sperling who will resolves YOUR matter with YOUR best interests in mind!
More on the case:
Gilgamesh Tablet Allegedly Looted from Iraq Becomes Subject of Legal Dispute