Auction case law

Payne v Cave (1789) 3 TR 148
Seller’s right to withdraw before, “Sold!”

Warlow v Harrison (1859) 1 E & E 309
Seller’s bid at without reserve auction not bona fide

Harris v Nickerson (1873) LR 8 QB 286
Withdraw of property at auction prior to being “put up”

Smith v. Richards, 38 U.S. 26 (1839)
Warranties when bidders can’t reasonably inspect

Veazie v. Williams, 49 U.S. 134 (1850)
Fictitious bidding

Toyota v. Territory of Hawaii, 226 U.S. 184 (1912)
Operating without an auctioneer’s license

Jackson v. Smith, 254 U.S. 586 (1921)
Auctioneers represent and are to be loyal to seller

Erie Cole & Coke Corporation v. U.S. 266 U.S. 518 (1925)
Subject to seller confirmation auction upheld
Bidders/buyers must rely upon such terms as may be deemed best
Auction terms bind alike upon bidders and auctioneer

Mottram v. United States, 271 U.S. 15 (1926)
As-is with reasonable opportunity to preview
Auction advertising is subject to error


Anderson v. Wisconsin Central Railway Co., 107 Minn. 296 (1909)
Bids at auction are offers

Freeman v. Poole, 37 R.I. 489, 93 A. 786 (1915)
Seller bidding constitutes a withdrawal at auction

Cranston v. Western Idaho L. B. Co., 238 P. 528 (Idaho 1925)
Can the seller bid; when can the seller bid?

United States v. Atlanta Wrecking Co. 8 F.2d 542 (N.D. Ga. 1925)
“As-is” with representative sample, and right to inspect

Ragusa v. Greco, 131 So. 849 (La. 1930)
Can the bid be “reopened?” after Sold!?

Faultersack v. Clintonville Sales Corp., 34 N.W.2d 682 (Wis. 1948)
Auctioneer must keep client (seller) informed; auctioneer represents seller

Lott v. Delmar, 2 N.J. 229, 66 A.2d 25 (1949)
Uniform Sales Act can be modified; provides a gap-filling purpose

United States v. Blair, 193 F.2d 557 (10th Cir. 1952)
Bidders are bound by auctioneer/seller terms and conditions with actual or constructive notice

United States v. Weisbrod, 202 F.2d 629 (7th Cir. 1953)
Bidders can be bound by reasonable auctioneer/seller terms and conditions

Zuhak v. Rose 264 Wis. 286 (1953)
At without reserve (absolute) auction, once a bid is placed, seller must convey

Drew v. Deere Co. 19 A.D.2d 308 (1963)
“Selling to the highest bidder” is not explicitly “without reserve”
There are only two types of auctions

Pillsbury v. McNabb, 37 Pa. D. & C. 2d 283 (1965)
Absolute auction and the Statute of Frauds, right to withdraw

Roberts v. J.L. Todd Auction Co., 170 S.E.2d 862 (Ga. Ct. App. 1969)
Auctioneer can earn commission (and attorney fees) even if auction-seller doesn’t convey

Hoffman v. Horton 212 Va. 565, 186 S.E.2d 79 (Va. 1972)
Auctioneer may reopen bid if bid comes in as hammer is falling
The UCC 2-328 applies to real estate auctions

Kinmon v. J.P. King Auction Co., 276 So. 2d 569 (1973)
Selling absolute means no minimum bid can be guaranteed
Withdrawal from absolute auction must be unequivocal

Forbes v. Wells Beach Casino, Inc., 307 A.2d 210, 219 (Me. 1973)
The UCC 2-328 applies to real estate auctions

Johnson v. Haynes, 532 S.W.2d 561 (1975)
Marketing and advertising different from announced terms at auction commencement

Outpost Café, Inc. v. Fairhaven Savings Bank, 3 Mass. App. 1, 3, 322 N.E.2d 183 (1975)
The finality of an auction and the equity of ownership versus the equity of redemption

Johnson v. Haynes, 532 S.W.2d 561 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1975)
Auction terms not provided nor communicated are not effective

David Witherspoon, Inc. v. Wood, 588 S.W.2d 558 (Tenn. App. 1979)
Auctioneer licensing for individuals and/or business entities

Pitchfork Ranch Co. v. Bar Tl, 615 P.2d 541 (Wyo. 1980)
Selling “without reserve” requires to sell to the highest bidder
Minimum bid increments suggest a “with reserve” auction

Well v. Schoeneweis, 101 Ill. App. 3d 254, 257-58, 427 N.E.2d 1343 (1981)
The UCC 2-328 applies to real estate auctions

Westgate State Bank v. Clark, 642 P.2d 961 (Kan. 1982)
Commercially reasonable sales, opportunity for preview

Wilson Freight Company, Debtor, WES-FLO Co., Inc., v. Wilson Freight Compnay and Parks and Parks, Reorganization No. 80 B 1129, Adv. No. 81-5664A. United States Bankruptcy Court, S.D. New York. June 28, 1983.
Seller bidding (shill bidding) below reserve price

Holston v. Pennington, 304 S.E.2d 287 (1983)
Absolute auction combined with multipar (open combination) bidding

Childs v. Ragonese, 40 A.2d 1031 (1983)
Is auctioneer due commission if buyer and seller don’t close?

Chevalier v. Sanford, 475 A.2d 1148, 1149 (Me. 1984)
The UCC 2-328 applies to real estate auctions

Brejcha v. Wilson Machinery, Inc., 160 Cal.App.3d 630, 206 Cal. Rptr. 688 (Cal. Ct. App. 1984)
Auctioneers largely not responsible for injury/death due to property once sold

Kline v. Fineberg, 481 So. 2d 108 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1985)
Can the bid be “reopened?” after Sold!?

Eaddy v. Dorn, 345 S.E.2d 513 (S.C.Ct. App. 1986)
Bidder with bona fide intention to purchase (competent)

Chernick v. Fasig-Tipton Kentucky, Inc., 703 S.W.2d 885 (Ky. Ct. App. 1986)
Buyer buying “as-is,” arbitration, reasonable inspection, latent vs. patent defects

Swinebroad-Denton Inc. v. Hornback, 744 S.W.2d 429 (Ky.App. 09/25/1987)
Auctioneer undisclosed dual-agency, listing property already under contract otherwise

Golfinopoulos v. Padula, 218 N.J.Super. 38, 526 A.2d 1107 (Ct. App. Div. 1987)
Words other than “absolute” or “without reserve” can explicitly make an auction such

Cal. Equalization Bd. v. Sierra Summit, 490 U.S. 844 (1989)
State sales tax at a federal bankruptcy auction

Torbron v. Campen, 579 So. 2d 165 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1991)
Nondisclosure of material (latent) facts before auction

Cantrell v. Morgan, No. 01A01-9008-CH-00289, 1991 (Tenn Ct. App April 26, 1991)
Necessity of an auctioneer license

Stormy Weathers, Inc. v. F.D.I.C., 834 F. Supp. 519 (D.N.H. 1993)
Fictitious bidding during an auction for the purpose of misleading or stimulating other persons who are bidding in good faith

Master Shore Builders, Inc. v. J.P. King Auction Co., No. 90-5817 (E.D. Pa June 6, 1993)
Knowingly operating without auction license breaches the covenant of good faith and fair dealing

Cuba v. Hudson & Marshall, Inc., 445 S.E.2d 386, 387, n.1 (Ga Ct. App. 1994)
Saying Sold! (hammer falling) “subject to” confirmation

Love v. Basque Cartel, 873 F. Supp. 563 (D. Wyo. 1995)
Minimum bid auction being converted to absolute above a certain amount

Pyles v. Goller, 109 Md. App. 71, 86 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. 1996)
Absolute auction with multipar (combination) bidding
All bidders should “stand on equal footing” in regard to terms

Marten v. Staab, 453 N.W.2d 436, 443 (Neb. 1996)
Auctions are with reserve unless otherwise noted; only two types of auctions

Frenz v. Hoover, Stark (Ohio) Appeals No. 1996CA00096
Bid rigging; conspiracy between participants in an auction who agree not to bid against each other

Red Cardinal Fifteen, Inc. v. Lange, 96-1115, 1997 U.S. 106 F.3d 391 (4th Cir. 1997)
Bogus (ficticious) bidding at auction and non-performance

Lindsey v. Coulter, 1998 WL 823125, at *6 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1998)
Seller does/doesn’t want auction to proceed

Chimney Cove Ltd. v. National Auction Group, #18628 Dist Ct. of Burnet County, Tex, 33rd Judicial District 1998
Seller bidding at an absolute auction

East v. Brown, 986 P.2d 523-25 (Okla. Civ. App. 1999)
With reserve auction stating particular reserve allows for other reservations

Express Auction Servs., Inc. v. Conley, 732 A.2d 1012 (Md. 1999)
Auctioneer practicing traditional real estate without proper licensing

Kearney v. J.P. King Auction Co., Inc., 265 F.3d 27 (1st Cir. 2001)
Sales talk and/or puffing prior to auction not binding

Deere & Co. v. Miller-Godley Auction, 249 Ga. App 797, 549 S.E. 2d 762 (2001)
Auctioneers are to assure bidders/buyers good title

Threatt v. Nat’l Auction Group, Inc., No. 01-A-11508-6 (Gwinnett County Super. Ct. Nov. 2, 2001)
Misrepresentation of what chattels go along with real property auction

Rose v. National Auction Group, 646 N.W.2d 455 (2002)
Seller and auctioneer conspiring to put a shill bidder in to assure a certain price

Pronghorn Dev., Ltd. v. National Auction Group, No. 02DV7822532 (Mo. Howell Cty. Cir. Ct., Cir. Div. Jan 6, 2003)
Qualifying all auction bidders with same criterea; treating all bidders the same except for price

National Auction Group v. Hammett, 854 So. 2d 65, 69 (Ala.2003)
Auctioneer denoting “Sold!” to a property not for sale (no listing agreement)

Greene v. Rogers Realty & Auction Co., 586 S.E.2d 278 (N.C. Ct. App. 2003)
Selling “as-is” or caveat emptor and buyer being responsible to verify

Colburn v. Baier Realty & Auctioneers (2003)
Absolute auction results far below expectations

Money v. Ft. Hays State Univ. Endowment Association, 64 P.3d 458 (Kan. Ct. App. 2003)
Bidders can be held to known (or provided) terms and conditions

Young v. Hefton, Court of Appeals, Kansas (2007)
There are “generally” three types of auctions
Seller terms and conditions must be reasonable

Udall v. T.D. Escrow, 154 P.3d 882 (2007)
Auctioneer binds seller/buyer with “Sold” even if below minimum bid

New Texas Auto Auction Services (Big H Auto Auction) v. Hernandez, No. 06-0550, Supreme Court of Texas
Auctioneer liability for selling defective product

Callimanopulos v. Christie’s Inc., 621 F. Supp. 2d 127 (2009)
The UCC 2-328 and where a bid is made while the hammer is falling, the auctioneer has the discretion to recognize that bid even after the hammer has fallen

Tony Shafrazi Gallery v. Christie’s International, 2009 N.Y. Slip Op. 31088 (N.Y. Misc. 2009)
Unknowingly selling counterfeit at auction

Simmons v. Danhauer & Assocs., LLC, 2010 WL 4238856 (D.S.C. Oct. 21, 2010)
The UCC 2-328 applies to an online auctions

Biancalana v. T.D. Service Co. 200 Cal.App.4th 527 (2011)
Auctioneer saying “Sold!” for the wrong amount

Koch v. Christie’s International, 11-1522 (2d Cir. 2012)
Auctioneer/seller false and/or misleading representations of property

Wabash Power Equipment, Co. v. BTU State Line, LLC, United States District Court, Northern District of Indiana, 2:13-CV-202-TLS-JEM (N.D. Ind. Mar. 13, 2014)
Auctioneer selling “as-is” with property descriptions; non-reliance clause

Village at Redlands Group LP v. Inc. Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Orange, Case No.: 30-2015-00777483-CU-FR-CJC
Undisclosed (misrepresented) bidding by seller

Brennan v. Bergen County Prosecutor Office, A-62-16, 078074 (2018)
Disclosure of the names and addresses of successful bidders at a public auction

Alex Lyon & Son, Sales Managers & Auctioneers, Inc. v. Leach, 844 S.E.2d 120 (W.Va. 2020)
Treating auction bidders with the same terms and conditions; equal footing