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article imageLegal nightmare could continue for man who sold printer online

By Nathan Salant     Jun 7, 2016 in Technology
Indianapolis - There's a downside to everything.
Just ask Doug Costello, the Massachusetts man who tried to sell a used printer on Craigslist.
Costello sold the used printer to an Indianapolis man for $40 plus shipping and other costs, which totaled less than $35.
But the buyer, a well-known Indiana litigant named Gersh Zavodnik, claimed the printer arrived broken and sued in small claims court for $6,000, according to the Indianapolis Star newspaper.
Zavodnik lost, likely because he had already tossed the printer and didn't have it as evidence.
But Zavodnik returned to superior court with another lawsuit in 2010, this time demanding $30,000 in damages for breach of contract, fraud and infliction of emotional distress.
This time, after months and months of inactivity in the case, Zavodnik claimed Costello had missed several discovery deadlines and a trial judge agreed in 2015, ordering Costello to pay more than $30,000 for breach of contract.
"I figured, that was it," Costello told the newspaper after he won the small claims suit the year before.
"But no, no, no -- now I'm in another legal twilight zone." Costello said.
The trial judge who ruled in Zavodnik's favor -- Special Judge J. Jeffrey Edens -- admitted the $30,000 judgment was "seemingly high" and "may seem extreme" but said he was bound by an Indiana Supreme Court ruling on evidence.
So, Costello hired an attorney for $12,000 to get him out of the mess, all because of that $40 printer.
"What kind of reality am I in now," Costello said after the damage judgment.
"I don't know what's going on," he said.
But the attorney was able to convince an appeals court to set aside the judgment in a ruling that said the damage award "had no basis in reality."
But Zavodnik told the newspaper that he intended to appeal.
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