Four months after a lawsuit was filed, an Indiana judge rules in the case of Daniels vs Mastro Auctions.
Mastro Auctions did not intend to defraud former customer Bill Daniels when the Indiana dealer purchased a lot of autographs in a 2004 auction.
Boone County, Indiana Superior Court Judge Matthew Kincaid made the 46-page ruling last week, several months after Daniels filed suit over a lot of 2,000 signatures, some of which he claimed were misrepresented. Daniels claimed 123 photos in the gropu were not in color or of the 8x10 size as was claimed in the catalog description. He claimed others were smudged and perhaps not authentic.
Kincaid ruled the two autograph authenticators offered as prosecution witnesses "possess sufficient skill, knowledge or experience in the fields in which they were asked to render opinions."
The auction company had offered to replace some of the photos but the offer was refused and Daniels filed the lawsuit. Mastro was ordered to pay Daniels $9,000--nearly half of the purchase price, but the dealer was also ordered to pay for $1,000 "defamatory" statements he made and $2,000 for failing to produce documents the court had asked for.
In an e-mail sent to customers Sunday, Mastro Auctions President Doug Allen wrote: "Overall, Mastro Auctions is very happy with this result. Although it is unfortunate that this dispute had to go all the way to trial, we are pleased that the judge sent what we believe to be a resounding message against Mr. Daniels’ exaggerated claims and conduct of his lawsuit."