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Armstrong v. Csurilla

    Brief Fact Summary. William and Josephine Csurilla, (Appellants), entered into two contracts for the purchase of two adjacent properties containing a residential home and a services station. Appellants defaulted on the contracts resulting in a foreclosure sale. Appellants appeal the trial court decision to confirm the sale.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. A judicial sale will not be set aside for inadequacy of price unless it be so gross as to shock the conscience or unless there be additional circumstances which would make it inequitable to allow the sale to stand.

    Facts. Appellants entered into two contracts to purchase real property from Calvin and Dorothy Armstrong, (Appellees). The contracts covered adjacent properties containing a service station with associated inventories and a residence. The total purchase price was $231,594. Appellants eventually defaulted. At the time of default, the gas station was closed, the property had deteriorated significantly in value, the inventory was depleted, and the service station was generally in poor condition. It never reopened as a service station. The court entered a judgment of foreclosure and a judicial sale took place. Appellees purchased both properties for $90,000. Appellants objected to confirmation of the sale on the grounds that the price was so low as to shock the conscience. However, the sale was confirmed.

    Issue. Whether the price of $90,000 for the two properties was so low as to shock the conscience.

    Held. No. The price paid for the two properties was not so low as to shock the conscience.

    Discussion. The purchase price for the combined properties was $90,000. No evidence was submitted as to the actual value of the property at the time of the judicial sale. The purchase price Appellants paid included inventory that no longer exists. At the time the service station was operating and making money. It has long since been closed and its value gone. Also, the fair market value was “far less” at the time of judgment since the property had deteriorated while Appellants owned it. Therefore the purchase price approached or exceeded 50% of the property’s value.
    Appellants do not contend that there was any impropriety in the conduct of the sale and have not proved the extent to which the price fell short of the property’s value. In short, they did not meet their burden to prove that the price was so low as to shock the court’s conscience.


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