Michael Sever Secures Quarter-Million-Dollar Summary Judgment for Auctioneer Client

Foran Glennon partner Michael Sever recently secured a more than $250K summary judgment order on behalf of his auctioneer client from Wisconsin’s Circuit Court of Walworth County.


In the summer of 2023, the defendant purchased a rare classic automobile at the client’s auction in California. However, when the time came to complete payment for the vehicle, the defendant stopped payment on his check, claiming that:

  • He was merely an agent for an undisclosed and alleged “principal” based in the Middle East and
  • The principal had refused to complete the purchase, to which he suggested rendered him blameless.

The auctioneer client resold the vehicle at a subsequent auction, incurring tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue and additional expenses in the process.

On behalf of the client, Michael sued the delinquent bidder, citing his prior consent to the agreement governing his auction participation. The seven-count complaint alleged various causes of action sounding in breach of contract, fraud, misrepresentation and tortious interference with the client’s contractual and business relationships not only with the vehicle’s seller but also the client’s other bidders and sellers.

After discovery was issued, the defendant made several case-fatal admissions, including:

  • He, and not the alleged principal, had registered for the auction,
  • The alleged principal was not disclosed to the auctioneer at any point in the auction – raising significant doubt that the principal existed,
  • He placed the winning bid without first securing sufficient funds needed to complete the purchase and
  • He signed the check payment for the vehicle and stopped payment on the check, confirming his alleged principal took neither action.


The Honorable Judge Kristine E. Drettwan granted Michael’s client Motion for Summary Judgment and ordered the defendant to pay over a quarter million dollars in compensatory damages, prejudgment interest, attorneys’ fees and punitive damages.

Michael concentrates his practice in commercial litigation, construction litigation, casualty litigation, subrogation, products liability and professional liability defense. He has drafted, argued and won numerous dispositive motions in jurisdictions across the Midwest.

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