The buyer has the burden of establishing any breach of warranty when goods have been accepted. Rejection of goods must be done within a reasonable time after their delivery to be enforceable.
The Mirons owned a horse which they wanted to sell in an auction. They sold the horse to Finkelstein under warranty that the horse was sound at an auction sponsored by Yonkers Raceway, Inc.. Finkelstein did not examine the horse before taking it home. Yonkers delivered the horse to Finkelstein before Finkelstein had delivered payment contrary to the contract. The day after the auction, the horse was found to have a fractured bone in its leg, and the Finkelstein refused to pay for the horse. The Mirons sued Finkelstein and Yonkers Raceway for the purchase price. The trial court ruled that both Yonkers and Finkelstein were liable to the Mirons for the purchase price of the horse. Finkelstein was held liable because he accepted the horse and therefore bore the burden of proving a breach in warranty. The Raceway was held liable because it breached the contract with the Mirons by delivering the horse before payment was delivered.
Did the defendants buyer and auctioneer meet their burden of proving that either the sellers breached a warranty or that the buyer had rejected the horse within a reasonable time?
The Court affirmed the trial court's decision to hold the defendants liable for the purchase price of the horse. Neither the buyer nor the auctioneer met their burden of proving that the sellers breached a warranty that the horse was sound by knowingly selling a lame horse at auction. The defendants also failed to prove that Finkelstein rejected the horse within a reasonable time period.