The Pifer Group, Inc., Plaintiff, Appellant, and Cross-Appellee
Judith M. Liebelt, Sandra K. Janke, Dennis M. Janke, Defendants, Appellees, and Cross-Appellants
Appeal from the District Court of Cass County, East Central Judicial District, the Honorable Steven L. Marquart, Judge.
Roger J. Minch, Fargo, N.D., for plaintiff, appellant, and cross-appellee.
David A. Garaas, Demores Office Park, Fargo, N.D., for defendants, appellees, and cross-appellants.
Daniel J. Crothers, Lisa Fair McEvers, Carol Ronning Kapsner, Dale V. Sandstrom, Gerald W. VandeWalle, C.J. Opinion of the Court by Crothers, Justice.
Daniel J. Crothers, Justice.
[¶1] The Pifer Group, Inc., appeals, and Judith Liebelt and Sandra and Dennis Janke cross-appeal, from a judgment awarding Pifer Group $8,215.81 for breach of two land auction sale agreements. We affirm, concluding the auction sale agreements are enforceable and the district court did not err in its interpretation of them.
[¶2] In 2013, Liebelt and the Jankes entered into separate land auction sale agreements with Pifer Group to auction their Cass County farmland. The agreements provided in relevant part:
" No property shall be sold or withdrawn from the sale prior to the auction except by mutual agreement between OWNER and AUCTIONEERS. If any property is sold or withdrawn prior to the completion of the sale, AUCTIONEER and Clerk shall be paid based on the percent times the fair market value of property withdrawn. . . . In the event of cancellation for any reason, Auctioneers shall be paid a fee of $2,500.00 plus 100% of all expenses incurred up to the date of cancellation . . . ."
Each agreement also contained the following handwritten provision: " Seller reserves the right to reject any and all bids--If bids are rejected auction company has not earned said commission."
[¶3] On the morning of the scheduled auction, Liebelt and the Jankes sent Pifer Group an email stating: " We are withdrawing from today's 11am land auction and will refuse any and all bids pursuant to our contract agreement." No auction sale was held.
[¶4] Pifer Group sued Liebelt and the Jankes for breach of the auction sale agreements and sought damages based on full sales commissions that would have been owed if the sales occurred. Construing the auction sale agreements, the district court on summary judgment awarded Pifer Group only cancellation fees of $8,215.81 and rejected the arguments of Liebelt and the Jankes that the agreements were void as a matter of law.
[¶5] Our standard for reviewing summary judgments is ...