A US Appeals Court ruled that the United States government has to return 10 rare gold coins worth tens of millions of dollars to the family from which they were seized. The rare, 1933 Double Eagle coins were provided to the government for authentication by the family of Israel Swift after they were found in a safe where they presumably sat for decades. Virtually every Double Eagle gold coin that was minted was melted down when the government went off of the gold standard. In seizing the coins, the government argued that they must have been stolen and that they could not be lawfully owned by Mr. Swift’s family. While a jury in federal court in Philadelphia sided with the government, the appellate court decided that the government failed to initiate a judicial civil forfeiture proceeding after it seized the coins 10 years ago and, therefore, the family does own them. The value of the coins is estimated at $80 million.
Barry Berke and Eric Tirschwell of Kramer Levin represented the family in the district court case and the appeal and were just named Litigators of the Week. DOAR provided trial strategy consulting in the trial in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.