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Ward Farms P'ship v. Enerbase Cooperative Resources

Supreme Court of North Dakota

May 27, 2015

Ward Farms partnership, or Lucinda Ward, Michael Ward, Adrian Ward, Nichole Ward, Elizabeth Ward, Arthur Ward as a partnership d/b/a Ward Farms, Plaintiffs and Appellants
v.
Enerbase Cooperative Resources, a/k/a Farmers Union Oil Company of Minot, Defendant and Appellee

Page 869

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 870

Appeal from the District Court of Burleigh County, South Central Judicial District, the Honorable Sonna M. Anderson, Judge.

Michael Ward (argued) and Brandon D. Rowenhorst (appeared), Minot, ND, for plaintiffs and appellants.

Steven A. Lautt, Minot, ND, for defendant and appellee.

Carol Ronning Kapsner, Lisa Fair McEvers, Daniel J. Crothers, Dale V. Sandstrom Gerald W. VandeWalle, C.J.

OPINION

Page 871

Kapsner, Justice.

[¶1] Ward Farms Partnership and others (" Ward Farms" ) appeal from a district court judgment denying its motion to amend its complaint and granting a summary judgment motion in favor of Enerbase Cooperative Resources (" Enerbase" ). We conclude the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Ward Farms' motion to amend, and the district court did not err in granting Enerbase's summary judgment motion because Ward Farms did not raise an issue of material fact regarding its claim. We affirm the district court judgment.

I

[¶2] This case stems from Ward Farms' purchase of Enerbase's tractor at a third-party auction sale. Michael Ward, a partner of Ward Farms, attended an auction sale, registered as a buyer, and was issued a bidding card which he admitted signing. The bidding card stated, in pertinent part:

ALL ITEMS ARE SOLD AS IS, WHERE IS, WITHOUT GUARANTEE OF ANY KIND. The descriptions of items appearing in advertising prior to this auction are believed to be correct. Nevertheless, neither those descriptions nor any oral statements made by the Owner (or his agents or officers) or the Auctioneers (or his agents or officers) concerning any item shall be construed as a warranty, either expressed or implied.

( Capitalization in original.) Michael Ward was the high bidder of Enerbase's tractor with a winning bid of $19,000, and he subsequently signed a bill of sale which stated, " All items sold As-Is, Where-Is. . . . ALL SALES ARE FINAL." (Capitalization in original.)

[¶3] Shortly after the sale, Ward Farms discovered the tractor required significant repairs. At Ward Farms' request, Enerbase inspected the tractor and estimated the repair costs as ranging from $19,550 to $31,430. Subsequently, Ward Farms sued Enerbase alleging fraud, misrepresentation, deceit, and breach of express and implied warranties. Ward Farms sought alternative remedies of rescission or damages.

[¶4] In its complaint, Ward Farms alleges it was told at the auction the tractor was " field ready" and had been recently used at a local race track to level roads. In Ward Farms' Answers to Defendant's Interrogatories, Ward Farms stated, " [t]he auctioneer advised he understood from the seller that [the tractor] was in good shape and had only been used a little at the race track." During Michael Ward's deposition, when asked if the phrase " field ready" was ever used to describe the tractor, Michael Ward stated, " I don't think they used 'field ready,' but that's what almost all the equipment is supposed to be." He also testified at the deposition the auctioneer stated during the sale " that [Enerbase] had had the item on the lot looking for a buyer there." Michael ...


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