Lawsuit Turns $40 Printer Sale on Craigslist into $30,000 in Damages

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If you’ve ever sold anything on Craigslist, you know that it’s typically a quick and easy way to part with stuff you don’t want anymore.

But for Doug Costello of Massachusetts it was anything but quick and easy.  Selling a $40 printer turned into a six-year long legal nightmare that saw him facing a judgement for $30,000 in damages.

It all started in 2009 when Costello sold an old black-and-white printer for $40 plus shipping to Gersh Zavodnik on Indianapolis, IN.  What Costello didn’t know at the time is that Zavodnik had a long-standing reputation as a “prolific, abusive litigant” who had filed hundreds of lawsuits seeking enormous awards in damages.

Zavodnik’s original suit, which alleged the printer was malfunctioning and missing parts, was tossed.  The reason?  He’d thrown away the evidence in the case: the printer.

But that was far from the end of the ordeal.  Zavodnik filed another lawsuit “requested damages for breach of contract, fraud, conversion, deceptive advertising and emotional distress.”

In March 2015, after six years of infrequent legal proceedings, Special Judge J. Jeffrey Edens entered a $30,000 judgment in Zavodnik’s favor for breach of contract.  The decision was reversed on appeal in March, with the appeals court saying the award, which was based on a misinterpretation of a state court trial rule, “had no basis in reality.”

But it’s not all over yet.  The appeals court has asked the trial court to determine if the case should be dismissed “based on Zavodnik’s repeated, flagrant, and continuing failure to comply with Indiana’s rules of procedure.”

Read more here.



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