Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Gleason v. Freeman case brief

Gleason v. Freeman case brief summary
2008 WL 2485607

CASE SYNOPSIS
Plaintiff bidders sued defendant sellers in connection with a failed real estate transaction, alleging breach of contract, fraud, and negligent misrepresentation. Before the court were the sellers' motion for summary judgment and bidders' partial motion for summary judgment with regard to the breach of contract claim.

CASE FACTS
The sellers listed real property for sale on an internet auction site (website). Although the website specified that advertisements of real property did not involve legally binding offers to buy and sell, the sellers' agent included a statement that a bid was a legally binding contract. The agent told the sellers that he included that statement deter frivolous bidders. The bidders won the auction bid. However, they subsequently negotiated a lower deposit amount and sought to negotiate the time of possession. The parties had no further contract and the sellers subsequently sold the property to another individual.

DISCUSSION

  • Granting summary judgment to defendants, the court held that the breach of contract claim failed because the website clearly indicated that a winning bid did not create a legally binding contract and the sellers' language to the contrary, at most, required the winning bidder to negotiate in good faith. 
  • Further, the bidders' subsequent negotiations did not show a manifestation of an intent to form a binding contract by the parties. 
  • The fraud and misrepresentation claims failed because the bidders failed to create a genuine dispute as to the accuracy of the auction's terms.

CONCLUSION
The court denied the bidders' motion for partial summary judgment and granted the sellers' motion for summary judgment.

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