We heard the first rumblings of discontent a few weeks after last year's Barrett-Jackson when it was reported that some people thought certain cars weren't getting their fair share of time up on the block. One man, David Clabuesch, went as far as chaining up his vehicle after it was sold and trying to prevent its delivery to the buyer. He even went a step further and posted signs around the vehicle expressing his displeasure with the auction company. Barrett-Jackson responded by filing a defamation lawsuit against Clabuesch, wanting to protect its reputation. The two have settled their differences, and Clabuesch has agreed to "no longer pursue any action alleging auction irregularities, including the claim that the car was short hammered while on the block." Read on past the jump for the full story from Barrett-Jackson's press release.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - January 9, 2008 - Officials with the Barrett-Jackson Auction Co. LLC, today announced that a settlement was reached on Jan. 7, 2008, in a suit filed against David L. Clabuesch in U.S. District Court in Arizona. In the settlement, Clabuesch exonerated the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company of all allegations of wrongdoing in relation to a situation that occurred at the company's Scottsdale event in January 2007. Details of the financial terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
"We're pleased to have reached a successful resolution and to put this matter behind us," said Steve Davis, president of Barrett-Jackson. "While we regretted having to take the extreme step of filing a lawsuit in this matter, we had no choice but to aggressively defend our integrity and the fairness of our company's business practices. This action was necessary to protect not only our own interests, but also those of the thousands of bidders and consignors who place their trust in us each year."
The lawsuit arose from circumstances surrounding the sale of Clabuesch's vehicle at Barrett-Jackson's January 2007 Scottsdale auction. Unhappy with the price paid for the vehicle, Clabuesch locked and chained the tires after it was sold, and attempted to prevent delivery to the new owner. Clabuesch also posted numerous signs in and around the vehicle expressing his opinions about Barrett-Jackson and the company's auction practices. Visible in one of the most high traffic areas of the auction site until removed by the company's security officer and local police, the signs were viewed by the company's customers and members of the public attending the event. Shortly after the January 2007 incident, the company was faced with responding to numerous defamatory rumors and untrue statements related to the Clabuesch incident, which were published on various Web sites, blogs and online chat rooms.
A settlement was mediated on Jan. 7, 2008, by former Superior Court judge Rebecca Albrecht. In connection with the settlement, Clabuesch issued a written, notarized statement that reads:
"Upon review of auction video footage and further consideration of the relevant facts, I, David L. Clabuesch, have concluded that with respect to the January 20, 2007, auction of my vehicle - a 1970 Plymouth Hemi-Cuda - conducted by Barrett-Jackson that I can no longer pursue any action alleging auction irregularities, including the claim that the car was short hammered while on the block. I have also determined that there was no relationship between Barrett-Jackson and the buyer of my vehicle, nor was there any conspiracy between Barrett-Jackson and the buyer of my vehicle, or any other person, to short hammer the sale of the car. I no longer believe that Barrett-Jackson violated the terms of the consignment agreement in conducting the auction sale or otherwise breached any duties to me as a consignor."
Davis concluded, "On the brink of the most exciting automotive lifestyle event in our history, we've demonstrated that Barrett-Jackson upholds the most ethical business practices in the collector car auction industry and that we will take the steps necessary to defend those practices when we are compelled to do so."
Copies of Barrett-Jackson Auction Co. LLC et al vs. David L. Clabuesch et al, US District Court for the District of Arizona, Case No. CV07-561-PHX-EHC can be obtained by contacting the clerk of the U.S. District Court in Phoenix or at www.azd.uscourts.gov. A copy of Judge Clabuesch's statement can be read at www.barrett-jackson.com/statement.
Established in 1971 and headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., Barrett-Jackson specializes in providing products and services to classic and collector car owners, astute collectors and automotive enthusiasts around the world. The company produces the "World's Greatest Classic Car Event" in Scottsdale, AZ, and has expanded to other venues, including Palm Beach, FL and in 2008, Las Vegas, NV. For more information about Barrett-Jackson, visit www.barrett-jackson.com or call (480) 421-6694.