Incorrect Auction Brochure Not Sufficient to Summarily Establish That Parties Lacked Meeting of the Minds.

The defendant had been leasing the plaintiff’s property. When the plaintiff decided to sell the property through an auction, it created a brochure which incorrectly stated that the water right granted to the property (being sold in three parcels) was for 1,100 acres. The brochure also listed an incorrect Department of Ecology permit number. The water right for the three parcels was actually limited to 825 acres. The defendant alleged that he read the brochure, but did not do other research to discover the errors. The plaintiff had discovered the error before the auction, but the brochures were still available at the auction. There was a spiral notebook with the correct information available at the auction, but the defendant allegedly did not see it. All bidders were required to sign a statement that they were purchasing the property “AS-IS WHERE IS with no warranty expressed or implied except as to the merchantability of the title.” The defendant was the successful bidder on two of the three parcels. When he discovered the reduced water right, however, he refused to sign the purchase agreement. The plaintiff sold the property to someone else and then sued the defendant for damages. The lower court granted summary judgment to the defendant on the basis that there was no meeting of the minds since the defendant did not know and consent to the reduced water rights. On appeal, the court reversed, finding that questions of fact existed as to whether the defendant knew or should have known this information. It was for the trier of fact to determine the reason the defendant did not consummate the purchase.  Custom AG Serv. v. Watts, No. 32010-3-III, 2014 Wash. App. LEXIS 2455 (Wash. Ct. App. Oct. 14, 2014).