The legal battle over the box of photo negatives Rick Norsigian bought at a Fresno garage sale 10 years ago has begun.
On Monday, the Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust, led by managing trustee William Turnage, filed a civil suit in federal court in San Francisco alleging multiple trademark violations against Norsigian and PRS Media Partners, a consulting firm run by attorney Arnold Peter.
Norsigian and Peter made international news after declaring in a press conference on July 27 that they had proved Ansel Adams made the 65 negatives, which they dubbed "the lost negatives." That claim has since been heavily disputed by the Adams family and Trust. An Oakland woman, Marian Walton, has also complicated the authentication effort by introducing the world to her uncle, Earl Brooks, whose photos of Yosemite very closely resemble the Norsigian negatives.
The lawsuit aims to halt the sale of the Norsigian prints. Since announcing that they had proved that Adams took the negatives, Norsigian and Peter have been selling prints online and through an art gallery run by Beverly Hills dealer David W. Streets. As previously reported by The Bay Citizen, Streets' credibility has been called into question due to his fraud convictions in Louisiana and Kentucky. Streets has put the value of the negatives at $200 million.