Finally, in June of that year, the Supreme Court announced its 6-3 ruling in his favor, saying the case could go forward in U.S courts. But then, last May, Schoenberg made another seeming roll of the dice, accepting an offer to let an Austrian panel conduct arbitration that both sides agreed to accept. "When I heard that, I was sure you would lose," an Austrian journalist told him on speakerphone last week.
"I was not confident about a U.S. trial," Schoenberg explained, behind a desk blanketed with papers. "Even if we won, they would appeal," he said -- meaning the case could outlive Altmann. "And how would we get the paintings? So far, the arguments had been on technicalities. I had faith that if an impartial panel actually looked at the facts of the case, they would rule in our favor."