After 15 years of legal wrangling in the federal courts, a judge is getting set to decide the fate of thousands of artifacts plucked off the ocean floor around the Titanic wreck site.
U.S. District Judge Rebecca B. Smith has indicated that she's leaning toward giving title of the artifacts to the company that has cared for them and displayed them in exhibitions around the world.
For those 15 years, the federal court has held tight reins over what can be done with the property.
But before making a final ruling, Smith has said, the company must convince her that the historical pieces will not be sold or destroyed. To appease her, the company has been hammering out covenants and restrictions aimed at preserving the pieces.
But the company, Premier Exhibitions Inc., along with its subsidiary, RMS Titanic Inc., has come under increasing fire this year as its stock price has plummeted while expenses have soared.