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BRADFORD v. MUINZER

October 20, 1980

KATHERINE NEVILLE BRADFORD, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL MUINZER, MUINZER MOVING & STORAGE CO. AND BEKINS COMPANY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Will, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Katherine Bradford filed this action against Muinzer Moving & Storage Co., Michael Muinzer, and Bekins Company, seeking damages for the wrongful sale of household goods which had been packed, moved, and stored by the defendants. Bradford has moved for summary judgment against Michael Muinzer and Muinzer Moving & Storage on the issue of liability. For the reasons stated below, we grant Bradford's motion.

BACKGROUND

In August 1974, Bradford hired Muinzer and Bekins to pack and transport her household belongings from Chicago to Florida. According to the Interstate Order for Service prepared at this time, her goods were valued at $35,000. As ordered, Bekins packed and shipped the goods to Muinzer's warehouse in Lafayette, Indiana where they were to be stored pending later shipment to Florida. The goods remained in the warehouse until July 1978.

In May 1978, Muinzer decided to sell Bradford's property to pay the $3,000 to $4,000 in overdue shipping and storage charges. On May 20, Muinzer sent a letter to Bradford at the Lafayette, Indiana address she had put on the Interstate Order for Service, demanding payment of the overdue charges. The letter stated that Muinzer claimed a lien on the goods in the amount of $3,295.01 and warned that if Bradford did not pay the charges by May 28, "the goods will be duly advertised for sale and sold at public auction." This letter was returned, unopened, to Muinzer.

On June 8, 15, and 22, 1978, Muinzer placed a notice of sale with a local newspaper, The Lafayette Leader, stating that "Lot 366566-Katherine Bradford" would be sold on June 26, 1978. The goods were not sold on this date, however, and on July 20 and 27, 1978, Muinzer placed a similar notice of sale with the paper. This notice read:

NOTICE

OF SALE

  Notice is hereby given that the undersigned
  pursuant to the provision of Chapter 182 of the
  acts of the Indiana General Assembly of 1919 will
  meet on:

July 29, 1978

6:30 p. m. at

Anderson Auction

Lafayette, In.

Lot 517- -Robert Bell

Lot 446- -June Gilliam

Lot 366566- -Katherine Bradford

    Anyone wanting to know the exact time and date.
  Contact Muinzer Moving and Storage Co.

MUINZER ...


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