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Case Number: 6:16-cv-01367-JTM-KGG
Judge: J. Thomas Marten
Court: United States District Court for the District of Kansas (Shawnee County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: Chris McHugh
Defendant's Attorney: Brian D. Sheern
Description: Topeka, KS - Nancy Lee Carlson sued the Charles Bolden (former Administrator of NASA) and Ryan A. Zeigler (Planetary Scientist; Apollo Sample Curator) on conversion and replevin theories claiming that a square white bag that traveled to the moon in 1969 on Apollo 11 and carried back to the Earth as part of the first samples of lunar material ever collected belonged to her and not NASA or the United States Government. Ms. Carlson claimed to be a good faith purchaser at a government auction of the bag and its contents, estimated to be worth $2 to $4 million. Ms. Carlson, an Illinois attorney, bought the bag at the auction for $995.00.
Carlson sent the bag to NASA in an effort to authentic it and NASA refused to give it back because it was the sample brought back to the Earth. Carlson sued claiming that she was the rightful owner of the bag and its contents.
The bag and its contents were seized by the United States Department of Justice after this was taken by a man who ran a space museum in Kansas. The bag was held for the Government by the United States Marshall's Office, which forgot what it was over the years, and it was put up for sale at auction.
Late in 2016, Judge Marten ruled that the bag and its contents belonged to Ms. Carlson.
Outcome: Judgment in favor of the Plaintiff.
Comments: See also: United States of America v. Max L. Ary