Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Hoffman v. Horton case brief

Hoffman v. Horton case brief summary
186 S.E.2d 79 (1972)

Plaintiff buyer appealed a judgment of the Circuit Court of Arlington County (Virginia) in an action against defendants, former owners and trustees of real property in a foreclosure sale, to recover the difference between two bids in dispute. The trial court denied the buyer's claim.

The buyer made a bid at a foreclosure auction for a piece of land that was accepted by the auctioneer. When no other bids were forthcoming, the auctioneer asked the bidders if they were through bidding and, after a pause, he declared the land sold and struck the palm of his left hand with his right fist. Immediately, one of the trustees, who had been standing nearby, rushed up to the auctioneer and told him that he had missed a bid. The bidding proceeded, and the property was finally sold to the buyer at a much higher price. The buyer claimed that an auctioneer at a foreclosure sale could not reopen the bidding when an overbid was made immediately prior to or simultaneously with the falling of the hammer in acceptance of a lower bid.

The court held that the auctioneer did not err when he reopened the bidding because an auctioneer was vested with discretion to reopen any bidding for land that was being sold.

The court affirmed the judgment of the trial court that denied the buyer's claim for the difference of disputed bid prices for land auctioned at the foreclosure sale.

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