Brief Fact Summary. Plaintiff and Defendant are both mortgage companies, which obtained liens against a ranch. When the owners defaulted on both mortgages, Plaintiffs mortgage was judged superior. Plaintiff made arrangements for a sheriff’s sale of the ranch. The morning of the sale, Defendant offered to buy the ranch form Plaintiff. Plaintiff’s attorney tried to contact the sheriff to stop the sale, but could not get a hold of him. All three parties, including the party that bid highest on the ranch, appeal to determine the status of the land.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. When there is a Sheriff’s sale, it is up to the mortgagee, when the auction is not without reserve, to withdraw the property form the auction.
When reviewing the trial court's interpretation of the legal effect of the evidence presented, we are presented with a mixed question of fact and law which is fully reviewable.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Should the sheriff’s sale stand?
The lower court was incorrect to state that the auction was “without reserve”. The advertisements did not say it was without reserve and, thus, it is not presumed to be “without reserve”.
When an auction is without reserve, the auctioneer may withdraw the item any time before the bidding ends.
Discussion. An auction that is without reserve can be canceled any time before the gavel hits the podium.