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As we serve more and more as an expert witness (and consultant) in auction related legal cases around the United States, I was asked just the other day what the “standard of proof” was in such litigation.

Most cases in which we’ve been involved have been civil cases, where the standard of proof has been generally either a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not — “51%” or more) or clear and convincing evidence (substantially more likely that not.)

Other times I’ve helped auctioneers and others in administrative hearings where generally the standard is substantial evidence where an auctioneer can be held liable with a reasonable assessment of adequate proof.

Otherwise and rarely I’ve helped auctioneers and others in criminal related cases where the standard of proof is typically beyond a reasonable doubt.

In almost all these situations (civil, administrative and criminal) the plaintiff has had the burden of proof — in other words, the defendant is not liable nor guilty unless the plaintiff can adequately prove the stated claim.

As we discussed in 2014 here (https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/auction-law-consultant/), we regularly review depositions, affidavits, contracts, text messages, emails, proposals, photographs, advertising … even audio and video.

In a few cases, we’ve visited auction sites and/or witnessed auction activity to assess typical practice. While we’ve suggested that the auction industry in the United States is fairly uniform in practice, we’ve certainly seen disparate — even unique/unusual procedures.

We’re proud to report that we have always been deemed qualified to provide testimony in all cases across the United States in which we’ve been hired; a recent presiding judge said: “He clearly possesses knowledge, skill, education, experience, and training in the field of auctioneering.”

Have we always been successful in helping our clients? I think I can say that we’ve always assisted with winning or minimizing damages. We’re very candid up-front if we think we can or can’t help.

If you believe we can assist you, or want more information, here is our auction legal consulting site: https://auctionlegalconsulting.com/.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, CAS, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, RES Auction Services and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School, an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy and America’s Auction Academy. He is faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by the The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.