In a judgment handed down on Wednesday and obtained by Celebuzz, Los Angeles Superior Court judge Maureen Duff-Lewis rejected the 71-year-old actor’s motion to dismiss the case and ordered the case to go to trial next month.
The university sued the actor in August 2011, claiming the portrait — said to be worth up to $30 million — belongs to the school because Fawcett agreed to have all her artwork donated, after her 2009 death at the age of 62, to her alma mater.
The judge ruled, “Triable disputed issues of fact exist as to who is the owner of the portrait and of the Warhol napkin; triable issues of facts as to whether there was consent, acquiescence and/or ratification by the University of Texas.”
In August, O’Neal fired back at the college in a sworn declaration and bid to have the case tossed before trial.
“I am shocked and appalled that the University of Texas has alleged that I [stole] the Warhol portrait, which was a gift from my good friend, the late Andy Warhol,” O’Neal said.
The portrait of the Charlie’s Angels star was spotted hanging above O’Neal’s bed inside his Malibu, Calif. home in an episode of his reality TV show, Ryan and Tatum: The O’Neals.
Warhol made two portraits of Fawcett in 1980. After her death one print was delivered to the Austin campus, but the other never materialized.
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