June 20, 2008
A Mind-Bending Ruling on the Status of eBay Sales
Uri Geller (pictured) was once famous for bending spoons and other objects with his mind. Does the fact that I have to tell you what he was famous for mean that he is no longer famous? In any case, Geller has grabbed the spotlight again, this time with a breach of contract claim that has resulted in an interesting legal opinion about the status of e-Bay auctions. I have not yet been able to locate the opinion, so I am relying on the AP report.
According to that report, Geller and his partners bid just over $900,000 in a 2006 eBay auction for a Memphis home where Elvis Presley once resided . The owners of the home ended up selling it for over $1 million to a Nashville record producer. According to the BBC, always an authority on Elvis-related matters, Geller described himself as "mind-blown angry" over the sale. The BBC might have added that since learning the news, the mind-blown Geller has been unable to bend a single spoon! But I digress.
Chief Judge Jon McCalla of the Western District of Tennessee ruled that there was no actionable breach of contract by the sellers because Geller and his partners had already breached by altering the closing terms. In addition, and this is what I find interesting, if the AP report is accurate, Judge McCalla ruled that the eBay auction in which Geller participated was more a means of advertising the home than a vehicle of binding sale.
If anyone can contribute a link to the actual opinion, I would appreciate it.
HT:Hazel Glenn Beh
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