Contracts Keyed to Murray
Callimanopulos v. Christie’s Inc.
Christie’s Inc. (Defendant) put a valuable painting up for auction. There were two bidders on the painting, Gregory Callimanopulos (Plaintiff) and Eli Broad. Plaintiff bid $3 million on the painting. Joanne Heyler, Broad’s representative, raised her paddle to indicate a bid as the auctioneer was dropping his hammer to signal the close of bidding. After striking the hammer, the auctioneer declared that the painting was sold for $3 million, but upon being told by Defendant employees that Heyler had signaled a bid, the auctioneer reopened the bidding and accepted Heyler’s intended bid. Broad, through Heyler, was eventually the highest bidder. Plaintiff sued Defendant for a declaratory judgment that he and Defendant had a binding contract for the sale of the painting. The district court granted a temporary restraining order prohibiting Defendant from disturbing the video of the auction or transferring the painting to Broad. Plaintiff moved for a preliminary injunction.
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