The U.S. District Court in St. Louis has denied the government’s request to amend the complaint seeking civil forfeiture of the Mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer from the St. Louis Art Museum. Echoing some of the timeliness points we made after the government’s request for reconsideration of the dismissal of the case was denied on June 1, the court noted that the government had previously requested on May 7 another week to move for permission to amend the complaint (in various filings the government had essentially asked for leniency to plead more specific facts to support the allegations of customs violations). Although the court’s opinion does not actually say that it denied the most recent motion as too late, the reference to May 7 and a week’s time from that date can hardly be accidental—the motion for leave to amend was not filed until June 8, weeks after the time for which the government asked. In the interim, final judgment had entered, after which an amended pleading is no longer an option.
So the Mask will remain at the St. Louis Art Museum, and the government must convince the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals to reinstate the case. We will be watching the developments.