Dealer Sues Harvard Over Rights to Antique Medical Kits

According to a report on Courthouse News, antiques dealer John Curuby is suing Harvard Medical School after it blocked his attempted auction of antique medical kits, his lawsuit claims. The report is short on detail and the case seems to date back more than a decade.

In 2002, Curuby reached out to the Warren Anatomical Museum, which is in Harvard’s Countway Library, about selling the kits to it, according to the report. The kits themselves are described as a pair of 18th century wooden medical kits and two 19th century medical kits, all in wooden cases. When Harvard made “no attempt to claim these artifacts” (which suggests that Curuby expected they might do so), he consigned them to Grogan & Co. nine years later, in 2011.

However, Harvard wrote a letter to Grogan in October 2011, stating that the kits were stolen. Curuby says Harvard failed to share that information when he approached them about a possible sale back in 2002. Curuby says the dispute resulted in Grogan canceling the auction, even though Harvard “has failed to provide any evidence that the kits were stolen from its collection or [take] any action to enforce its purported ownership.

Also named in the complaint are the Francis A. Countway Medical Library and the Warren Anatomical Museum. Curuby is seeking a declaration from the court that he is the rightful owner of the kits, as well as unspecified damages.


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