Lawsuit to stop sale of statue finds venue

A judge has tentatively ruled that a lawsuit aimed at stopping the public sale of two Oscars given to Mary Pickford should be tried in Riverside County.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences claims it has the right to buy the statuettes and one owned by Charles “Buddy” Rogers, who was married to Pickford, for $10 each.

But Kim Boyer, the niece of Rogers’ second wife and one of three heirs in possession of the Oscars, said she only wants to sell one Oscar, and it isn’t subject to academy bylaws that require it be offered cheaply to the academy.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charles C. Lee said Monday he is inclined to send the case to Riverside County because one of the couple’s heirs, Marian D. Stahl, lives there.

Academy attorney Christopher Tayback said the case should remain in Los Angeles County because the original contracts with the actors likely were signed there.

Pickford won the best actress Oscar in 1930 for “Coquette.”

She was given an honorary Oscar in 1976. Rogers won the academy’s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1986.

The lawsuit claims that academy bylaws dating from 1950 and agreements signed by Oscar winners give the academy the first chance to buy Oscars for $10 each if they ever go on the market.

Boyer claims Pickford won her first Oscar before the bylaws were put in place. The academy, however, says Pickford signed an agreement after she won her second Oscar that made both subject to the bylaws.

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