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Callimanopulos v. Christie’s Inc.

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
621 F.Supp. 2d 127 (S.D.N.Y. 2009)


Christie’s Inc. (Christie’s) (defendant) put a valuable painting up for auction. There were two bidders on the painting, Gregory Callimanopulos (plaintiff) and Eli Broad. Callimanopulos 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 Christie’s 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. Callimanopulos brought an action against Christie’s for a declaratory judgment that he and Christie’s had a binding contract for the sale of the painting. The district court granted a temporary restraining order prohibiting Christie’s from disturbing the video of the auction or transferring the painting to Broad. Callimanopulos moved for a preliminary injunction.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Pauley, J.)

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