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  • Writer's pictureMike Brandly, Auctioneer

Berry v. The New Gainesville Livestock Auction

We were forwarded notice of the case of Byron Berry, Appellant v. The New Gainsville Livestock Auction, LLC, Appellee heard in the Court of Appeals Second Appellate District of Texas at Fort Worth, No. 02-19-00476-CV, on Appeal from the County Court of Law Cooke County, Texas Trial Court No. CV1801412.

Mr. Berry had claimed the auction company misrepresented the cows as to be pregnant to give birth in the spring — and those cows did not give birth in the spring. The Court ruled the auction did not misrepresent the cows. We’ve attached a copy of the Appeals Court ruling here:

Basically, the Appellant Mr. Berry was found to misunderstand the terms, “Springer” and “Heavy Springer” where he assumed these denoted cows to calf in the spring and possibly those calves would be heavier than average due to the weight of the sire.

Actually, the terms “Springer” and “Heavy Springer” mean cows in [or late in] their last trimester, and not that the calves would necessarily be born in the springtime. Mr. Berry felt the cows were misrepresented, when in fact he didn’t understand the terms of art used in this type of auction.

There was also some misunderstanding of numbers painted on the cows and the related written records. The documentation showed the cows were 5-7 months bred and would necessarily not calve in the spring where Mr. Berry thought he saw numbers painted indicating 3-4 months pregnant.

Nonetheless, Mr. Berry was unable to prove the livestock auction misrepresented the cows he purchased, and in fact, based upon the testimony presented, The New Gainesville Livestock Auction did not misrepresent anything — but they lost an opportunity to better serve their client and stay out of court.

It’s indeed important for auction bidders and buyers to comprehend industry-specific terms as well as ask questions when clarification is needed. Yet, if one believes he understands something, he’s not likely to ask for the further explanation — and the announcements of “Springer” seemed to confirm in his mind the 3-4 months pregnancy status.

We previously wrote about auction “jargon” which many in the public do not understand: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2018/05/11/the-public-and-auction-jargon/. It’s always a battle of sorts knowing what terms bidders/buyers should know, and which ones require further explanation, but we should err on the side of assuming a lack of knowledge.

Importantly, it would seem obvious more bidders and buyers realize our sellers more money. Further, the better educated those bidders/buyers are, the more they will bid as they avoid the “winner’s curse” which we discussed here: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2020/10/16/providing-as-much-information-as-possible/.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, CAS, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School, and an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy and Western College of Auctioneering. He is faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.

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