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Miron v. Yonkers Raceway, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
400 F.2d 112 (1968)


Facts

Adrien and Gerard Miron (plaintiffs) owned a horse. The Mirons wanted to sell the horse in an auction. The Mirons consigned the horse to Yonkers Raceway, Inc. (Raceway) (defendant). The parties’ contract stated that the risk of loss would pass to the buyer once the auctioneer’s hammer fell. Saul Finkelstein (defendant) won the auction. Although it was customary to examine a horse immediately following an auction, Finkelstein took the horse home without examining it. The next day, Finkelstein’s horse trainer noticed that the horse’s hind leg was swollen. After working with the horse, the trainer determined that the horse was lame. Finkelstein took x-rays of the horse’s leg. Finkelstein notified the Mirons that the horse was lame and demanded that the Mirons take the horse back. Finkelstein refused to pay for the horse, and the Mirons sued Finkelstein for breach of contract. Finkelstein counterclaimed for breach of warranty. Finkelstein presented expert testimony that the horse had a broken splint bone, and that the injury was two or three weeks old at the time of the auction. The Mirons presented contrary expert testimony suggesting that the x-rays were not taken the day after the auction, but at a later date. The trial court concluded that the parties could not establish when the x-rays were taken. The Mirons also presented testimony from witnesses who had inspected the horse on the day of the auction and said that nothing was wrong with the horse. The district court held that Finkelstein had the burden of proving the horse’s lameness at the time of auction, and that Finkelstein had failed to carry that burden. The district court entered judgment for the Mirons, and Finkelstein appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Smith, J.)

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