United States v. Mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer

The government filed a forfeiture complaint regarding the Mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer, an Egyptian mummy cartonnage discovered in 1952 by an archaeologist working for the Egyptian government and registered as government property. The Museum purchased the Mask in 1998 and refused the Egyptian government's repeated requests to return the Mask. The government's notice of appeal included the district court's Order of Dismissal, but the Statement of the Issue section of the government's brief stated that the only issue on appeal is whether the district court abused its discretion in denying a post-dismissal motion for leave to file an amended complaint. The court concluded that the appeal of the Order of Dismissal has been waived, and the court need not be concerned about the truth of the pleaded facts. In this case, the government failed to request leave to amend in the eleven months between the Museum's motion to dismiss and the district court's Order of Dismissal, choosing instead to stand on and defend its original complaint. Therefore, the court concluded that the district court had no reason to question that litigation strategy. Although the government's motion for leave to amend cited both Rule 59(e) and Rule 60(b), the Rule 59(e) motion was untimely. Further, the proper recourse for the government was a direct appeal, not a Rule 60(b) motion. Therefore, the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the Rule 60(b) motion. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's procedural ruling. View "United States v. Mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer" on Justia Law