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Abstract

In 1994 Harold Acton, son of Arthur Acton, an English art dealer in Florence, and Hortense Mitchell Acton, an American banking heiress, donated his family home, Villa La Pietra, to New York University. Today, this Tuscan villa is at the center of a declaration of paternity lawsuit and a claim of inheritance brought by Liana Beacci, Arthur Acton's daughter by his Italian secretary. In this Note, Felicia Caponigri presents the facts of the case, focusing on the provenance of the Villa, and the procedural posture of the case. Caponigri applies Italian law to argue that New York University might claim clear title to the Villa if Hortense's father gave her the Villa, or if Hortense set up a legal entity in which she placed title to Villa La Pietra. Caponigri also argues the Beacci might have a colorable claim if Hortense and Arthur Acton acquired the Villa together.

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