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Blossom v. Railroad Company, 70 U.S. 3 Wall. 196 196 (1865)

Blossom v. Railroad Company

70 U.S. (3 Wall.) 196


1. A bidder at a judicial sale at public auction, whose bid has not been accepted, the sale being adjourned for sufficient cause and finally discontinued, cannot insist, even though he have been the highest and best bidder, on leave to pay the amount of his bid and have a confirmation of the sale to him.

2. The marshal or other officer who makes a sale of real property under a decree of foreclosure, possesses the power, for good cause shown, in the exercise of a sound discretion and in subordination to the superior control of the court over the whole matter of the sale, to adjourn the sale from time to time.

3. In a case where the decree was that the sale should be made unless the mortgagors should previously pay the mortgage debt, a few short adjournments for the purpose of enabling the mortgagors to make an arrangement to pay it are adjournments for sufficient cause, although such adjournments have been made by direction of the complainant's solicitor. And if, prior to the day to which the sale stands adjourned, the mortgagors come in and pay the complainants the amount of the decree &c., the sale may properly be discontinued altogether.

The Milwaukee & Chicago Railroad having mortgaged their railroad, and suit having been brought in the federal court for Wisconsin to foreclose the mortgage, a decree was obtained that the mortgaged premises should be sold at

Page 70 U. S. 197

public auction, under the direction of the marshal, unless the mortgagors, previously to such sole, should pay to the complainants the sum of $254,175 -- the amount of the decree. The marshal accordingly offered the premises for sale on the 6th of June, 1862, but no bids being received, he adjourned it "by direction of the complainant's solicitor," to the 19th of the same month, at the same hour and place. At the time and place of adjournment he put up the premises again, and one Blossom bid $250,000 for them, this being the highest and best bid received at that time. Fearing that the property would be sacrificed if the sale should be completed, the agent of the stockholders applied to the solicitors of the complainants, requesting that the sale might be postponed for a short time to enable the respondents to make some arrangements to pay the amount of the decree without a sale of the property. The solicitors gave such directions, and the marshal again adjourned the sale, the adjournment being to the 21st June -- two days -- and the marshal giving notice that at the expiration of this time the sale would be opened at the same hour and place, and with the bid of $250,000 already made by Blossom. During these two days, the mortgagors made arrangements to pay the mortgage, but had not been able by the 21st to have the money actually in hand. The sale, after being opened and after Blossom had increased his bid to the full amount of the mortgage debt -- but no other bids being received -- was again adjourned by direction of the complainant's solicitor, this adjournment being to the 1st October, 1862, and being also the second adjournment made by direction of the solicitor aforesaid, after the bid of $250,000 had been made. On this 1st October the sale was again opened, and by the same direction further adjourned till the 15th January, 1863, this being, of course, the third adjournment made by the same direction, and after Blossom's bid. Previous to this 15th January, however, the company had paid the amount of the decree, and the marshal, by order of the complainant's solicitor, discontinued the sale altogether.

On the 9th October, 1862, Blossom, by petition to the

Page 70 U. S. 198

court below -- sworn to and stating that "he made both bids in good faith, and has been ever since and now is ready to comply with his said bid, and hereby offers to bring that amount into court" -- applied to have the sale confirmed to him on his bid as increased to the full amount of the decree of foreclosure and sale, but the court denied the petition, and he appealed here.

It having been lately decided in this Court, on a motion to dismiss his appeal, that he was entitled to be heard here, [Footnote 1] his case now came on upon its merits.

Page 70 U. S. 203

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