Payne v. Cave

From Wiki Law School does not provide legal advice. For educational purposes only.
Payne v. Cave
Citation 3 TR 148 (1789)
Date decided 1789

Facts: At an auction for a worm tub, the defendant bid 40 pounds. He then asked the auctioneer if it was worth that price, to which he received a negative answer. Defendant retracted his bid. The tub was auctioned off the next day to the defendant for 30 pounds.

Procedural History: Plaintiff filed action to recover the difference.

Issue: Was there a contract formed when the defendant bid?

Holding: No.

Reasons: The contract is formed at the end of the auction, when the hammer strikes. Before that moment, neither party is bound; either can back out.