Decided - The FindLaw Noteworthy Decisions and Settlements Blog

NY Court Stuns Trekkie, Dismisses Phony Memorabilia Suit

In a journey begun in October 2006, one intrepid Trekkie attempted to boldly go where no man has gone before: to sue Christie's for $7 million for selling him phony Star Trek merchandise. Unfortunately for him, the New York Court of Appeals had about as much sense of humor regarding this suit as bunch of Klingons. On Tuesday, December 22, the plaintiff's case was dismissed

According to various reports, plaintiff Ted Moustakis, a long-time Trekkie from the planet New Jersey, purchased three items from auction house Christie's during their sale of Star Trek memorabilia arranged as part of the show's 40th anniversary celebration. Evidently a fan of the character Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation, Moustakis bid on and won a poker visor, poker table and uniform all, he claimed, represented to him as having been worn or used by actor Brent Spiner while portraying the android Data.

Moustakis also claims he discovered the props were not genuine in a rather startling manner. While attending a 2007 Trekkie convention in Los Vegas, Moustakis met Spiner and asked him to autograph the visor. The actor promptly told him "that's not my visor." It's frightening, isn't it, how much these androids can remember. The suit followed.

While the facts may sound convincing, the appellate court wasn't buying it. According to their decision, the court found the plaintiff had no right to damages. "Contrary to plaintiff's contention that defendant Christie's had represented the Commander Data uniform to be one of a kind, no such representation was ever made in the auction catalog," the court wrote. Further, the plaintiff had accepted as a condition of sale, that the items were sold "...'as is' without any representation or warranty of any kind by Christie's or the seller," as to the "provenance" of the items. The court opined the only remedy available to the plaintiff would be to ask for his money back. And may the force be with him on that one. Ooops, wrong galaxy.

Related Resources: