Strange court case has Peter Doig receiving $2.5M

Credit: Brian McNeil
In an improbable case of mistaken identity, Edinburgh based artist Peter Doig was awarded $2.5M in damages by an Illinois court.

For the past 10 years, Robert Fletcher, a Canadian corrections officer, has waged a legal battle against Scottish artist Peter Doig, claiming he was refusing to authenticate a painting Fletcher had in his possession, therefore robbing him of the chance to sell the artwork.


The plaintiff claimed Doig had sold him the painting for $100 back in the 1970's when the artist was supposedly incarcerated for drug possession and Fletcher acted as his parole officer. An affirmation that the Scottish painter flatly refused, stating that neither was this painting his, but that he had also never been incarcerated nor had he ever met Fletcher at Lakehead University, contradicting every element provided by the Canadian man.


The Illinois judge assigned to the case ruled, back in 2016, in favour of Doig as it turns out all of this was just an improbable yet real case of mistaken identity. The painting that Fletcher had was indeed signed "Pete Doige '76" but was rather the work of Peter Edward Doige who had indeed been to Lakehead University and incarcerated in the same area but who passed away back in 2012.


Now, five years later, a judge has ordered Mr. Fletcher to pay $2.5M in damages because as the judge states it, as soon as 2014 "it should have become indisputably clear to Plaintiffs and [their counsel] that their claims stood no chance of success and, in fact, that the claims were factually meritless”.


Peter Doig stated that the entirety of the $2.5M will be donated to a charity that gives incarcerated people the chance to make art.