I wondered aloud two weeks ago what the St. Louis Art Museum would do with its declaratory judgment action over the Mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the related forfeiture action brought by the government. With the question of seizure answered for good, I suggested that the museum’s next move might be to dismiss its first-filed lawsuit, because its incentive to litigate the question of title was effectively removed entirely with the forfeiture off the table.
Our string of predictions in this case remains intact. It turns out that this is exactly what the museum did: it has voluntarily withdrawn its complaint without prejudice, which it was free to do since the U.S. had never filed a responsive pleading. Such a dismissal requires no explanation, and the museum gave none. It also allows the museum to bring the same claims again later if it chooses (including, in particular, if it is sued by Egypt or anyone else).
Short of either reconsideration by the 8th Circuit of the forfeiture action (about which there has been no activity yet), or a new lawsuit by Egypt, this puts the matter to rest for good.