Armiros v. Rohr (CA1 3/8/18)

The court holds that hitting the “Buy It Now” button on eBay forms a binding contract. That must have fascinated someone at the court enough to publish the opinion, which is otherwise fact-based and legally elementary. But near the end it says something which, though not new, is evidently noteworthy since it trapped one of these litigants.

Defendant sold an expensive diamond ring on eBay. Then somebody offered her more money so she did a deal with that guy instead. The original buyer sued and, after a bench trial, won. Defendant appealed.

The Court of Appeals spends several pages analyzing the facts in minute, witness-by-witness detail. It affirms, since there was an offer and acceptance and since Plaintiff adequately claimed and proved benefit of the bargain.

Then, in the 27th of 29 paragraphs, the court briefly mentions something legally interesting. Plaintiff had sued husband and wife; husband got himself dismissed, arguing that the ring was wife’s separate property and he had nothing to do with the eBay listing. Plaintiff tried to appeal that ruling by filing a cross-appeal. The court points out — citing the 1981 case (Maxwell) that says so — that a cross-appeal is effective only against the appellants.  Wife had filed the appeal; husband obviously wasn’t a party to it. So the court dismisses the cross-appeal.

The court doesn’t discuss this any further. Its well to keep in mind, though, that a cross-appeal is like a counterclaim or crossclaim in that it can only reach the parties to the adverse pleading. If you want others you have to file your own appeal within (this was one of the points of Maxwell) the regular appeal time.

(Opinion: Armiros v. Rohr)