back to article Bloke flogs $40 B&W printer on Craigslist, gets $12,000 legal bill

A Massachusetts accountant has vowed never to sell anything on Craigslist again, after getting embroiled in a nearly seven-year legal fight over the quality of a printer he sold online. In 2009, Doug Costello sold a monochrome printer to Gersh Zavodnik in Indiana for $40, plus about $25 in shipping charges. Shortly afterwards …

  1. ckdizz

    Jesus Christ.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Yep. People like this are why we can't have nice things.

      1. Dadmin

        HIs mistake was not selling to a local user. This way you can make sure the purchaser is happy with their new device or not, then if problems persist you can deal with the offender using a very inexpensive baseball bat. This way; everyone's a winner.

        1. Darryl

          No, his mistake was living somewhere that something like this is even legally allowed to happen.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            His mistake was living somewhere that something like this is allowed to happen...

            Let me add, even after the Indiana's Supreme Court described the idiot as a "prolific, abusive litigant"...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: His mistake was living somewhere that something like this is allowed to happen...

              What I don't understand is when you start accusing the judiciary of this sort of corruption somewhere with a functioning legal system that doesn't habitually paralyze itself you'd normally expect to get yourself thrown in jail if you can't produce hard evidence. Don't get why that hasn't happened here.

              Also not for nothing but it's a fairly clear case (as described at least) of malicious prosecution; for sure I know what I'd do in this case and also what I'd do if the courts didn't agree with me. There's ways, y'know?

            2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Re: His mistake was living somewhere that something like this is allowed to happen...

              Let me add, even after the Indiana's Supreme Court described the idiot as a "prolific, abusive litigant"...

              Zavodnik isn't an idiot (though he is a crank, as his various court filings demonstrate). He's a crook.

              It's also worth noting that the laws in question are pretty sensible. If someone doesn't respond to legal filings, at some point the judicial system has to decide what happens with those filings. Indiana law says that, in a case like this, there's an implicit declaration because the filing went uncontested; but there's an opportunity to withdraw that declaration.

              The Court of Appeals makes it clear (read the PDF) that the Marion Superior Court special judge should have allowed all the implicit declarations to be withdrawn, and misinterpreted the applicable law. Well, that's a thing that happens: judges make mistakes. Then higher courts clear them up.

              Obviously Costello should not have been dragged through all of this. But any system under which that would have been impossible is also a system under which someone with a legitimate complaint would have a much harder time pursuing it. You can't have it both ways; no one's created a system of civil justice that magically distinguishes valid cases from bogus ones. The courts have to determine that, and in Costello's case they have done so correctly, every time but the one (where Edens incorrectly allowed the $30K claim to stand).

              The Indiana Supreme Court told Zavodnik that they'd impose restrictions if he continued to abuse process, and likely they will this time - eventually. The wheels of justice necessarily grind slow (and certainly aren't helped by idiot grandstanding "tough on crime" legislators clogging up the courts with unproductive criminalization of everything).

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            His mistake was selling anything to a yank.

            1. Thaumaturge

              "His mistake was selling anything to a yank."

              Yeah, we're all just a big bunch of jerks on this side of the pond. So maybe we ought to call in all our loans to UK going back to WW II.

              1. Adam 52 Silver badge

                "maybe we ought to call in all our loans to UK going back to WW II"

                The one that was paid back in 2006 do you mean? Which was made generously to allow commonwealth and Europeans to die in the US interest?

                1. Thaumaturge

                  "The one that was paid back in 2006 do you mean? Which was made generously to allow commonwealth and Europeans to die in the US interest?"

                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-American_loan#Repayment

                  Minus the $8.5 billion we wrote off and the 90% discounts on postwar lend-lease.

                  I'm not advocating for the US to try to collect that. It just irks me when snot nosed brats thumb their noses at us.

                  1. werdsmith Silver badge

                    I'm not advocating for the US to try to collect that. It just irks me when snot nosed brats thumb their noses at us.

                    You should be just as irked by people who learn their history from Hollywood and get their information without context from Wikipedia.

                  2. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

                    No worries, we can always call in the 210.6bn that the US owes the UK in deficits....but we'd be joining a queue, as we're only 8th in the list of countries that the US owes debts to.

                    http://www.davemanuel.com/us-national-debt-clock.php

                  3. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    >Minus the $8.5 billion we wrote off and the 90% discounts on postwar lend-lease.

                    Problem with our (UK) governments is lack of economic foresight - China sold off $18 billion (of the $4 Trillion+ the US owes it) for less than a tenth of value last year. If we'd held out a few more years we could have paid off the entire war debt for a handful of billions as China refinances your imaginary economy.

                  4. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    This from someone no doubt wanting to elect donald drumpf - the dictionary definition of a snot nosed brat

                  5. Naughtyhorse

                    snot nosed brats thumb their noses at us.

                    so now you know how the rest of us feel ALL THE TIME

              2. William 3 Bronze badge

                Whilst I disagree with the person who riled you, I feel I must point out that we paid off those loans a while back.

                Strange isn't it though. After the war you just gave money to Germany, but demanded we pay up.

                With friends like that eh.

                1. werdsmith Silver badge

                  Strange isn't it though. After the war you just gave money to Germany, but demanded we pay up.

                  Not strange at all, if you believe the stories of paranoia about the Soviet Union and communism in the US and that they were shit-scared that a broken West Germany would succumb along with the East.

                  1. Nigel 11

                    Not strange at all, if you believe the stories of paranoia about the Soviet Union and communism in the US and that they were shit-scared that a broken West Germany would succumb along with the East.

                    the UK government also believed it, and as far as I can judge I think they were right. In 1947(*) Germans would have been starving to death, were it not for the food from the British Empire that the UK government diverted to Germany. This, at a time when wartime rationing was still in effect in the UK, and when public sentiment would happily have seen Germany starve. So it was kept ultra-hush-hush at the time and is still not well known. I'm proud that my country did the right thing rather than the politically expedient thing.

                    (*) 1947 was the harshest Winter of the century, Worse even than 1962/3 which I can just about remember. Snow four feet deep. Actually, it wasn't that deep. I'm recalling it through the eyes of a six-year-old.

                    1. DropBear Silver badge
                      Joke

                      "Snow four feet deep"

                      ...well just stop standing in it on all fours!

                      1. well meaning but ultimately self defeating

                        Well done sir/madam.

                        well done

                2. Naughtyhorse

                  yeah butthey got verner von braun...

                  and all his paper clip buddies

                3. HausWolf

                  Was going to leave this alone.. but you are correct, perhaps we should have made Germany agree to pay everything back, we could have made them sign this agreement oh.. maybe in a railcar.. that way it would remind them to never try anything like that again.

              3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

                Calling in Debts

                That would I am sure trigger the rest of the world to call in all the debt that the US owes.

                How much is that again?

                How much does it rise every second?

                Now that would trigger a 20+ year depression all over the world.

                Maybe that's what President Trump wants to do? (Just a thought)

                1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
                  Boffin

                  Re: Calling in Debts

                  You don't know much about debt & bond markets.

                  Most US Government Debt (66%) is held by US institutions. Furthermore, US Government Debt obligations cannot be "called" by the debt holder. All a debt holder can do if they want out is sell the bonds on the open market. The bonds can be traded on the open market, and their price can drop lower then the discount rate if too many are traded at once, but that only means the holders of the debt obligations lose money, not the debt issuer. (And if that drop is really large, the bond issue might even buy those bonds back on the open and retire the debt, thus saving money.) The debt issuer only feels the effect of it's issued bonds trading lower when they issue new bonds, as they may have to issue ones with higher interest rates. But that in itself puts downward pressure on the trading price of the pre-existing (lower interest) bonds.

                  Bonds & debt obligations: They are complicated. They were also designed by bankers & lawyers, so the last person to be screwable is the debt issuer.

              4. John Bailey

                "Yeah, we're all just a big bunch of jerks on this side of the pond."

                Yep. Nic of yo to admit it though.

                "So maybe we ought to call in all our loans to UK going back to WW II."

                Well.. yes, you could do that, if we hadn't paid them off already a few years ago.

              5. martic

                The Anglo-American Loan Agreement was paid off in 2006.

              6. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                @Thaumaturge

                >So maybe we ought to call in all our loans to UK going back to WW II.

                Corporal Jones: The only thing the Americans ever charged in WWI was thein interest on the loans.

              7. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                The UK WWII loans to the UK were paid off

                The loans from the US to the UK were paid off in 2006. Its interesting that the "defenders of the free" made a profit from WWII and allowed Germany to not pay back all the damages, the UK had to pay every cent.

                1. Nameless Faceless Computer User

                  Re: The UK WWII loans to the UK were paid off

                  Demanding that Germany pay damages from WWI lead to WWII.

              8. Wolfclaw Silver badge
                Trollface

                We paid all your loans back + interest and if your going to label us all, nothing like arriving late to two World Wars, have no idea how to fight a modern war until we showed you and then you take all the credit for winning it and any major invention along the way.

                Be honest, in how many wars have the US won on their own, NONE !

                North v South - Win / Loss

                WW1 - Win - Was it worth turning up and your military sucked in a modern war.

                WW2 - Win - Late again

                Korea - Draw

                Vietnam - Loss and major a$$ kicking

                Iraq - Loss and illegal

                Afghanistan - Loss and illegal

                USA, USA USA - SUCKS !!

                1. Roger Varley

                  "Be honest, in how many wars have the US won on their own, NONE !"

                  Oh come on, be fair. They did manage an away win in Grenada.

                  1. HausWolf

                    We are 2-0 against the Brits as well.

                    1. David Webb

                      We are 2-0 against the Brits as well.

                      I assume you're referring to the war of 1812 (which no one over here considers relevant in any way, shape or form), the war which resulted in the American national anthem? The war where the US invaded Canada with the intention of making Canada part of the US?

                      How did that go for you? Which number state is Canada now? Oh right, it isn't a state because you lost against the Canadians (bear in mind that at the time we were fighting a real war with a short French dude called Napoleon). So whilst we're fighting one of Europe's major superpowers you decide it's a good time to invade Canada... and lose.

                      Also the war of 1812 is when the British went to DC and burnt down the white house, so if you can consider enemy combatants invading your nations capital and burning down the home of your leader a "win", it's no wonder you consider you won Vietnam. I

                      It ended in a treaty because we really couldn't be bothered with a minor country like the US, there would have been no gain from coming over there with our best troops - we defeated Napoleon during the war - and having a protracted war. We also destroyed your economy by blockading the East, the reason the war started was apparently because the Navy was going onto American ships to get deserters, once we beat Napoleon we no longer needed to do that so we gave you a "get out of being beat to hell" card.

                      Only in America could you consider a failed invasion a win........

                      1. Kiwi
                        Mushroom

                        Also the war of 1812 is when the British went to DC and burnt down the white house, so if you can consider enemy combatants invading your nations capital and burning down the home of your leader a "win", it's no wonder you consider you won Vietnam.

                        A lovely song (with great lyrics) called "The war of 1812" by The Arrogant Worms comes to mind here...

                        so if you go to washington

                        its buildings clean and nice

                        bring a pack of matches

                        and we'll burn the white house twice

                    2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

                      2-0? When you were pushed back to the Canadian border and our navy sailed down the Hudson and burned down the Whitehouse in 1814?

                      Britain and her colonies won that war, but due to commitments fighting Napoleon, felt that defending any gained territory wouldn't be feasible considering we were fighting an actual war against a great power in Europe,

                      Even in the revolutionary war, you only won with French help.

                      Or is that like when you won 1-1 at football?

                2. kain preacher Silver badge

                  I don't know why people keep on saying the US lost Vietnam. The US got a treaty and N.Vietnam surrounded. It was only after the US turned over control to S. Vietnam and start pulling out with no intentions of going back did N Vietnam over run S Vietnam.

                  1. Hans 1 Silver badge

                    >It was only after the US turned over control to S. Vietnam and start pulling out with no intentions of going back did N Vietnam over run S Vietnam.

                    Yes, and the American general in chief, some Klaus something, flew off in his flying slay just after he had kissed sleeping beauty who was, for once, wide awake because Cinderella was making way too much noise cleaning the house.

                    First the French then the Americans tried to stop the commies taking over Vietnam, the French gave up so the US went in and ... eventually "gave up, too", no "ifs", "buts" or "maybes" ... any other interpretation of the events is called "BS".

                    But, to be honest, all that is not the point, what bothers me most is, why is Special Judge Jeffrey Edens still in office, that guy either needs a straitjacket with high doses of specialized medication, or a dope test - something is weird in his decision, does he have a legal background (I mean education)? I cannot believe what has been reported here about his verdict, that simply cannot be true, and if it is, pull him out of office now before he hurts anyone!

                3. James O'Shea Silver badge

                  "Be honest, in how many wars have the US won on their own, NONE !

                  North v South - Win / Loss

                  WW1 - Win - Was it worth turning up and your military sucked in a modern war.

                  WW2 - Win - Late again

                  Korea - Draw

                  Vietnam - Loss and major a$$ kicking

                  Iraq - Loss and illegal

                  Afghanistan - Loss and illegal

                  USA, USA USA - SUCKS !!"

                  Mexican-American War. Win. At the time, Mexico had the biggest, best trained, army in the Western Hemisphere. Unfortunately for them, they also had Santa Ana.

                  Spanish-American War. Win. This would be where the US got the Philippines, Guam (still have it), Cuba, Puerto Rico (still have it) and a few other odds and ends. Teddy Roosevelt got to be a war hero for charging up San Juan Hill; the 10th US Cavalry (Colored) got to make the charge with him and be ignored. Again.

                  Suppression of the south-western Indians. Win. After removing the top half of Mexico in the Mexican-American War (with a small addition in the Gadsen Purchase) the US inherited Mexico's fight with assorted Indians, notably Apaches and Navajo. It took more than 50 years to finally break them. The last major Indian wars were won by... the 9th and 10th US Cavalry (Colored) Regiments. The black boys broke the Indians where the white boys couldn't. Despite what Hollywood may tell you, there were a total of 12 regiments of US regulars stationed west of the Mississippi between the end of the Reconstruction and the turn of the 20th century. Seven infantry and five cavalry regiments. (Yes, there were more infantry than cavalry regiments. In case you hadn't noticed, Hollywood is full of shit.) Two of each were black. The Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th and the 10th Cavalry were the ones who finally beat Geronimo.

                  Suppression of the Moro in the Philippines. Win. When the US stole the Philippines from Spain they inherited the long-running Moro insurrection (400 years!). Among other things, this resulted in the adoption of the Colt .45 model 1911 automatic pistol as the standard US military sidearm; allegedly the standard .38 revolver wouldn't stop a charging Juramentado. And having seven (or eight, if you kept one in the chamber as well as seven in the magazine) bullets instead of six didn't hurt. The Moro shut up. They woke up again when the Japanese arrived in 1941-2, decided that they liked Japan even less than they'd liked Spain or the US, and when Dugout Doug returned didn't see why they should stop fighting just 'cause the Japs were gone. Got suppressed again. US left. They woke up again. Got suppressed again. Al Quida arrived. They woke up again, being Muslim. (The name 'Moro' would be a Clue(tm)) Still annoying the Philippine government.

                  And, oh, during WWI, while the American army wasn't the greatest, except for a few special cases like Alvin Yorke, the Marines were magnificent. See further 'Belleau Wood'.

                  During WWII, the Russians did the heavy lifting against Germany, but it was the Americans who did the heavy fighting against Japan. Slim was the best general Britain had, but he was operating on a shoestring. (Note: one of my uncles was killed in action with the King's African Rifles in Burma. The way Britain treated the 14th Army is a sore spot with me.) The Chinese were busy fighting each other as well as Japan. Britain did show up in the Pacific, in time to provide naval support at Okinawa (and to get hit by kamikazes) and it was a New Zealand Seafire flown of a British carrier which scored the very last air-to-air victory of WWII, but... (Note: An RN Skua got the first British air-to-air kill of the war, and a RNZN Seafire got the last. Britannia rules the waves. Well, ruled the waves, there's no bloody carriers and no bloody carrier air any more.)

              9. ATG

                U.K. Should probably sue the USA for damages from the loss of the colonies in the terrorist action called the war of independence

                1. Tadirr

                  There is a story where the US state dept tried to buy their embassy in London.

                  The owner asked for Virginia back as his family were the original owners

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    @tadirr

                    >There is a story where the US state dept tried to buy their embassy in London.

                    >The owner asked for Virginia back as his family were the original owners

                    The owner of the US Embassy in London is a native American. Just shows, you learn something new every day.

                    Note for the literally challenged, there might be a hint of sarcasm in there.

                  2. HausWolf

                    Actually your Indians are not the same as our Indians so I highly doubt anyone from England is the original owner of anything in the US if you choose to go that route.

                  3. Trigonoceps occipitalis

                    Original Owners

                    So we wanted the land that you stole from us that we stole from Native Americans back?

                    "The Indian has made over 400 treaties with the White-man. He has only kept one promise. He took our land"

              10. omnicent
                Facepalm

                hmm

                You mean the ones paid back in 2006? Good luck with that...

              11. This post has been deleted by its author

              12. Tadirr

                http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6215847.stm

              13. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

                We finished paying them back in 2006. Despite the fact that your congress decided to wait until we were on our own in 1941, then screwed us over with lend-lease because we had no other option.

                It was Americas policy to end Pax Britannia since the 1800's. WW2 was how they finally got their way by leaving Britain to fight alone as the only remaining power against the axis powers. Then they swooped in once we were on our knees, but not before.

                Obviously USA had to step in before Britain was invaded, otherwise they would have no opportunity to attack the Axis powers, except through Africa and defeating the NAZI's was in their own interests.

                Plus attempting to screw us over on the Manhatten project ( taking our research with an agreement to share back anything you learned, but then refusing to do so until we had built a nuclear power plant to generate our own fissile materials .

                If that's not a series of dickish things to do, I don't know what is.

                1. frobnicate

                  "leaving Britain to fight alone as the only remaining power against the axis powers."

                  Ever heard of the Eastern front, where Axes kept 9/10 of their manpower?

                  1. Justicesays

                    Re: "leaving Britain to fight alone as the only remaining power against the axis powers."

                    "Ever heard of the Eastern front, where Axes kept 9/10 of their manpower?"

                    Eastern front didn't open until 1941...

                  2. This post has been deleted by its author

                  3. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

                    Re: "leaving Britain to fight alone as the only remaining power against the axis powers."

                    The Eastern Front was neutral - Germany and Russia were on the same side until 1941.

                2. streaky Silver badge

                  Plus attempting to screw us over on the Manhatten project ( taking our research with an agreement to share back anything you learned, but then refusing to do so until we had built a nuclear power plant to generate our own fissile materials

                  Basically everything related to the Tizard Mission if we're being fair. Jet engines alone the Germans couldn't get right and I imagine the yanks were nowhere even close. Lest we even discuss the humble cavity magnetron, what would the US do without microwave TV dinners.

                  Actually your Indians are not the same as our Indians so I highly doubt anyone from England is the original owner of anything in the US if you choose to go that route.

                  Oh god, not blessed with many smarts.

              14. This post has been deleted by its author

              15. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Not all of you are jerks, just some of you.

                http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6215847.stm

              16. joeldillon

                Nice try but those were paid off in 2006 -

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-American_loan

                And Americans might not individually be jerks, but this guy sure was and apparently your legal system encourages that.

              17. The Commenter formally known as Matt

                you mean the Anglo-American Loan Agreement which was repaid in 2006?

                Jerk

              18. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Already paid. thank you.

              19. Gruezi
                Headmaster

                Godwin!!

                "Yeah, we're all just a big bunch of jerks on this side of the pond. So maybe we ought to call in all our loans to UK going back to WW II."

                Does this count as a Godwin? If so, is this possibly the fastest Godwin on El Reg ever?

                Icon, because even a grammar Nazi is a Nazi, right?

                1. The bigger, blacker box.

                  Re: Godwin!!

                  >>Does this count as a Godwin? If so, is this possibly the fastest Godwin on El Reg ever?

                  Not quite a Godwin per-se, but It won't take too long to get to the money that the US was making from the Nazis, or where the Nazis were getting their machines for Jewish census and tracking from (IBM), brokered indirectly through Dehomag to hide the purchase.

              20. John McCallum

                WW 2 debt again?

                I believe that these so called debts were repaid a long time ago. With all the interest.

              21. patrick_bateman

                You lot keep on referring back to that, grow up.

                GB was pushed into being a puppet for USA.

                Though I would prefer to be referred to that rather then any other connection to Americunts.

              22. Steve I

                "Yeah, we're all just a big bunch of jerks on this side of the pond. So maybe we ought to call in all our loans to UK going back to WW II."

                Christ - there's gratitude for you. It it weren't for us Brits, you'd all be Spanish.

                1. <shakes head>

                  or French

                  1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

                    If it wasn't for the French ( both in 1776 and 1814 ) you'd be British.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  > It it weren't for us Brits, you'd all be Spanish.

                  (FIFY) If it weren't for us Brits, you'd have all been Spanish much sooner.

              23. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Pretty sure we paid that back a few years ago. But hey, if you want to be a jerk about it.

              24. Naughtyhorse

                sure...

                after you settle this outstanding tea tax bill :D

                (you have to admit there does seem to be an unusually high prevalence of assholes over there)

              25. This post has been deleted by its author

              26. Trigonoceps occipitalis

                Wikipedia but never the less:

                " ... paid off in 2006."

              27. raving angry loony

                @Thaumaturge

                And you think that posting something like that makes you look like anything less than complete tosser? How droll.

              28. ahdguy

                Keep with the times princess

                We paid those loans off years ago (2005?)

              29. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Err... They've been paid off in full for a few years, pal...

              30. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Already paid back. In 2006 as I recall. I had a party.

                I think the UK was the only country to do that, but I might be wrong.

              31. x 7 Silver badge

                " So maybe we ought to call in all our loans to UK going back to WW II."

                We paid all those back years ago. Perhaps maybe now you'll consider paying licences for the technology you took from us back then and we never bothered to charge you for? Like jet engines and radar for starters.

              32. Vic

                So maybe we ought to call in all our loans to UK going back to WW II.

                You already have...

                Vic.

            2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

              His mistake was using Craigs List and selling out of his local area. Also, one can get decent, new printers for $50 from numerous places in the US. So I also have to question the wisdom of selling a used printer. Printers can be touchy devices at times.

              1. L05ER

                lol wut?

                decent monochrome laser printers are minimum $80 new in any retail outlet here in the US. open box or refurb maybe for $50... but that is the same thing as buying used...

                you question the wisdom in selling a thing? please inform us of the error in our ways great god of free market capitalism...

                what the hell can't be touchy at times? basically... can you be any more wrong?

            3. Gis Bun

              Duh. Both are Yanks!

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            the often used phrase "Only in America" is applicable in this case.

            Would have been laughed out of court (not that it would have even got that far) in the UK

            1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Would have been laughed out of court (not that it would have even got that far) in the UK

              Read the judgement from the Court of Appeals - it's linked to in the friggin' article.

              Costello won in small-claims court. He failed to respond to the filing in Marion County Superior Court. (Costello says he wasn't notified, and I'm curious what happened with the serving process in this case - seems like there ought to be proof of service. But whatevs.) When someone fails to respond, the court has to do something. That something is typically "implicitly accept the declaration".

              Indiana let Costello request to revoke the declarations, and Evans, the Superior Court special judge eventually assigned to the case, did revoke most of them. He erred in interpreting state law and allowed one to stand.

              The Court of Appeals reversed that one declaration and the award to Zavodnik, and remanded to trial. That's all just how it's supposed to work.

              As I noted above: Either you make it easier for bogus lawsuits, or harder for legitimate ones. The courts aren't magic. Everyone but Evans has arrived at the correct conclusion in this case, and it's likely that Zavodnik's right to file will be restricted in the future for serial abuse of process. Still sucks to be Costello, but the system is working about as well as can reasonably expected, if you're capable of a modicum of critical thought.

          4. BenR

            RE: No, his mistake was living somewhere that something like this is even legally allowed to happen.

            This would be allowed to happen anywhere - breach of contract is breach of contract, so you can sue for it.

            In most jurisdictions however, you're likely to be asked to actually *PROVE* it.

            I'd like to think that here in the UK, the Small-claims court would have thrown it out without evidence, or at the very worst required that the initial purchase price (minus the shipping) be refunded, with no basis for appeal of the judgement.

            1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Re: RE: No, his mistake was living somewhere that something like this is even legally allowed ...

              I'd like to think that here in the UK, the Small-claims court would have thrown it out

              Here in the US, small-claims did throw it out.

              I know, I know. Can't afford five minutes to read through the Court of Appeals decision linked from the article. Five minutes to post a comment, sure.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Meh

          Humm.. Sounds like you haven given a "wood shampoo" or two?

        3. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
          Boffin

          No, his mistake was not selling on eBay, where binding arbitration is required

          If he sold the printer on eBay and had Zavodnik pay via PayPal, then all of the court cases would have been booted out of hand.

          In the US, when you sign up for an eBay account, you agree to binding arbitration for all dispute resolution and give up all rights to sue. Same with PayPal. And the courts won't give you the time of day because of those provisions.

        4. Shart Tank

          > Is mistake was not selling to a local user.

          I strongly suspect that the purchaser intentionally targeted a seller in another state, so it would be difficult for the seller to defend himself in court.

      2. VinceH Silver badge

        @ecofeco

        "People like this are why we can't can have nice things but have to keep them and never get rid of them when we want to replace them with nicer things."

        FTFY

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Ahhhh.

        Only in America (or perhaps in some despotic, third world country) could something like this happen. Poor ba*d

    2. It wasnt me

      Wow.

      America. You truly are a great nation. The greatest.

  2. ecofeco Silver badge

    Countersuit

    When this is over, and it will be, he can then countersue the shit out this asshole. If he can still afford it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Countersuit

      There's probably a clause in Indiana law that says he can't sue for more than he sold the printer for...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Countersuit

      He shouldn't have to.

      The courts themselves should be seeking to make an example of Zavodnik. It looks like has been taking the piss out of the whole legal system. Why shouldn't there be a bit of restorative justice? It seems mad that restoration of the legal system's reputation is relying on Costello's own diminished funds to fund a case that would do the job for the court.

      1. asdf Silver badge

        Re: Countersuit

        > It looks like has been taking the piss out of the whole legal system

        What by creating more billable hours for the lawyers? The US legal system is nothing but lawyer jobs program. Gumming up so people seeking justice spend as much as possible is a feature not a bug.

        1. elDog Silver badge

          Re: Countersuit

          Don't forget that most of the legislators that represent the people in the US are not interested in having laws applied. Especially laws that might get themselves into deep kimchi. Such as misrepresentations, fraudulent claims, taking bribes from lobbyists, etc.

          I think most of the U.S. Congress, Inc. is mainly interested at disabling the government while still stuffing their faces at the taxpayers-funded trough.

          Oink.

          1. asdf Silver badge

            Re: Countersuit

            Check what the majority profession is of those in Congress to see sick vested interest in action. If they weren't lawyers I guarantee you they have plenty of friends and people they owe who are.

            1. asdf Silver badge

              Re: Countersuit

              >Check what the majority profession is of those in Congress

              before they got elected meant to say. Of course they are professional asshats now.

              1. frank ly Silver badge

                Re: Countersuit

                Indiana Trial Rule 36(B):

                "Any matter admitted under this rule is conclusively established unless the court on motion permits withdrawal or amendment of the admission. Subject to the provisions of Rule 16 governing amendment of a pre-trial order, the court may permit withdrawal or amendment when the presentation of the merits of the action will be subserved thereby and the party who obtained the admission fails to satisfy the court that withdrawal or amendment will prejudice him in maintaining his action or defense on the merits."

                If you read just the first sentence, you'll realise that the legal system is a law (and a language) unto itself.

                1. nematoad Silver badge
                  Headmaster

                  Re: Countersuit

                  "...you'll realise that the legal system is a law (and a language) unto itself."

                  Yes it is, and for a good reason. No, not to keep lawyers in the state to which they have become accustomed, although that is true, but to ensure that things are spelt out precisely. It is English, but not as commonly used. It is a specialised, sharp tool to try and determine the facts behind the case.

                  The rules of evidence are arcane and not easily understood by non-lawyers but again that is because they are narrow, focused and designed for a particular purpose. They have been arrived at over many years in an attempt to hold trials that are both fair and effective. Though being a human construct sometime fail in one respect or both.

              2. Otto is a bear.

                Re: Countersuit

                I should think that covers most politicians in the western world, my experience of local politics in the UK was that most were Solicitors, Accountants or Property Developers, anyone who had a proper job, like me, couldn't spare the time. The closest you would get was the odd spattering of teachers, who could afford the odd early day to attend 4.30pm meetings.

                And before anyone starts on teachers, most of the ones I've known over the past 20 years work a minimum of 50 hours a week, and often a lot more. Mrs. Bear is running at around 70 at the moment.

            2. Nigel 11

              Re: Countersuit

              Crowdfund the countersuit?

              This jerk might find himself comprehensively out-lawyered, if a million folks contributed $5 in order to establish once and for all that gaming the system will ultimately blow up in your face.

        2. Otto is a bear.

          Re: Countersuit

          Ah common ground, so's the UK legal system.

  3. Pirate Dave
    Pirate

    "Costello claims he didn't get the requests, but under Indiana law, as he didn't respond to the request within 30 days or attend a hearing on the matter, then the legal rule is that he admitted the liabilities and damages by default."

    So, anybody in Indiana can randomly sue ANYBODY ANYWHERE ELSE and if that person doesn't respond to that court within 30 days then the state of Indiana considers that an admission of guilt/liability? That's pretty fucked up. I mean, I could maybe see it if the other person were a resident of Indiana, but not somebody who lives in another state altogether.

    1. Dadmin

      Pirate Dave, I hear-by request that you and your cohorts do, discreetly and with malice of forethought, hack the living shit out of Indiana and leave a very odd-shaped digital crater where they used to be. There is nothing in that state worth saving. Just nuke the shit out of it already! I'm pretty sure Indiana Jones is residing in California at present, so he's safe until they make Indiana Jones 5. Fire away!

      1. Anonymous Coward
      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        wait a sec

        >There is nothing in that state worth saving

        You are wrong. #1 - Terre Haute has the federal death row necessary for the Boston Bomber. #2 - Where else are Chicago gansters going to bury bodies (such as the famous corn field scene in Casino). Was going to say Indy 500 but now its a shell of itself nah. The only other thing I got is the spiritual home (real home in that other bastion of civilization Kansas) of basketball rings. Sensing the damning with faint praise? Seriously though Indiana can go eat a bag of d*cks.

        1. Blitterbug
          Thumb Up

          Re: There is nothing in that state worth saving

          But But... Kurt Vonnegut? (were he still with us, I mean). And he set most of his distopian whimsies there iirc. Or was he being, er, ironic? I'm guessing the latter?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: wait a sec

          Go Hoosiers!

      3. Anonymous Coward
      4. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        There is nothing in that state worth saving.

        Do fuck right off, will you?

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Pirate Dave, that's usual. Something a bit like that happened to spamhaus a few years back, when some spammer sued in a 'merkin court - to take one example. For the worst abuse of all - albeit not quite the same - see the story of the pirates who used bogus patents to choke Blackberry. Courts look after their own, and 'merkin courts often have global reach.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Spamhaus purportedly didn't answer even if it was aware because being a UK based entity it didn't recognize US jurisdiction.

        I wonder if in US there is no way to send such kind of request with a legally valid medium including a non deniable return receipt. In other jurisdiction is mandatory to use such media for that purpose, and some acts may even be delivered by hand by a recognized state official.

        Do Indiana still uses the Pony Express?

    4. L05ER

      maybe...

      given how he to tries to extort people, i wouldn't doubt he sought out such a jurisdiction.

      i would if that was how i was trying to make a living... smarter not harder and all that.

    5. kain preacher Silver badge

      That's the law in most US states.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        sewer service and default judgements

        One of the first cases you get to read in law school is Penoyer v Neff, which introduces the concept of personal jurisdiction and the limits of constructive notice. Decided by the US Supreme Court in the 1870's, Penoyer was likely forgotten by legislators throughout the country over the next century who gleefully facilitated such travesties of justice as service by mail and notice by publication. Default judgments aren't considered a threat to justice because the law makes it easy to vacate them later -- except when it doesn't (and by "easy", I don't mean "cheap" unless you happen to be a lawyer yourself).

        Starting around 30 years ago the courts, supported by their legislatures, began cracking down on frivolous suits. Fines and penalties were levied not only against litigants, but their lawyers as well. This happened after the common law cause of abuse of process failed to gain traction in a system that was awash in cases.

        However pro se plaintiffs like the guy here always seem to get a pass. They run roughshod over the system because, well, *rights*. Defending a client against a pro se plaintiff can be a nightmare for many lawyers. Convincing a judge to impose sanctions a fantasy.

        But what's the difference really between an active duty soldier and some knuckle dragging good ol' boy letting loose with a shotgun in a shopping mall? The mouth breather might not have 1000's of hours of training and experience of the soldier, or be getting paid a decent salary and benefits to go into combat, but he's just as able to cause as much damage to lives and property.

        The pro se plaintiff in this case is a menace. He should be severely sanctioned by the courts (the going rate used to be up to $10k if memory serves), and be ordered to pay his victims attorneys fees and costs. Some pests can only be eradicated by squashing them, after all.

        Oh yeah, and the trial judge who rendered that $30k judgement? He's the best argument I've ever seen for making judges stand for re-election every few years.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: sewer service and default judgements

          Oh yeah, and the trial judge who rendered that $30k judgement? He's the best argument I've ever seen for making judges stand for re-election every few years.

          Too harsh. Evans believed he was constrained by Rule 36. The Court of Appeals found this was a misinterpretation. Evans wasn't being malicious; he was simply a county judge who got the law wrong. CoA corrected in short order.

          Ten minutes on Lexis/Nexis would find a dozen far more disturbing cases of judicial error, overreach, and misconduct in the past month. Though it'd be more fun finding them by reading legal blogs, to be honest.

          Judges are people. Some of them are good; some of them are terrible; most are somewhere in between.

          The same can be said of voters. I've lived in states where judges are appointed, and others where they're elected. Electing them does not produce a discernible improvement. In fact, it's very, very rare, in my experience, for a judge to lose an election even after a widely-published controversy.

    6. Sooty

      "Costello claims he didn't get the requests, but under Indiana law, as he didn't respond to the request within 30 days or attend a hearing on the matter, then the legal rule is that he admitted the liabilities and damages by default."

      Shouldn't it just be a simple matter of asking for the signed proof of delivery. I mean, if you're sending legal requests that could be disputed in court, only a complete moron wouldn't send them in a fashion that had signed for proof of delivery.

      or is there a further law that says, with no proof of even posting these things, we can assume you've received them a certain number of days after we claim they were sent.

    7. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      " ... and if that person doesn't respond to that court within 30 days then the state of Indiana considers that an admission of guilt/liability?"

      Pretty much the same in the UK.

  4. martinusher Silver badge

    Keep it local and have a return policy

    Its clear that the purchaser had no interest in the printer except as a trigger for small claims action. If you sell locally then you can defend against that sort of thing. (You'd hope that the small claims court would also tell the litigant to take a hike but they get a bit stacked out with cases so a joke claim like this might fall though the cracks.)

  5. YetAnotherLocksmith

    "Vexatious Litigant"

    This is what Vexatious Litigant laws are for. And this nice fellow is the absolute definition...

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: "Vexatious Litigant"

      According to Wikipedia, few American states have Vexatious Litigant laws.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: "Vexatious Litigant"

      Indeed vexatious. I'm surprised he's not working for a patent troll or perhaps the motion picture industry in their pursuit of huge amounts of cash for "presumed piracy".

      Methinks someone needs to be institutionalized or merely shot and buried out back for being a twatdangle of the highest order.

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "claiming he had conspired with the presiding judge"

    And he's not inside for contempt of court?

    1. DaLo

      Interestingly as Costello lost this due to "not responding" you would assume that the judge who he "conspired" with"would also be held to account for his action in the conspiracy.

      If you are going to make a presumption of guilt against a defendant in a conspiracy then that conspiracy must be acknowledged as having happened and the Judge, therefore, is also presumed guilty?

      If there is no evidence the conspiracy happened then the defendant cannot be guilt of taking part of it?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vexatious little ...

    That's not justice, that's a farce.

    If dingbats can win such cases, then the law is bust.

    1. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: Vexatious little ...

      Welcome to the Real World.

      Though I find your size-ism disturbing.

  9. graeme leggett Silver badge

    diplomatic language

    Court says 'serial litigant', I say 'bit of a knob'

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: diplomatic language

      I say a criminal and abuser of the legal system which is ostensibly there to protect people.

  10. Don Fredricks

    Follow the directions

    "Deal locally, face-to-face — follow this one rule and avoid 99% of scam attempts." (from www.craigslist.org/about/scams)

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Follow the directions

      Have you checked the date of that suggestion - you may find it is later than this court action.

  11. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    Isn't the easy answer to simply have a few thousand of your friends sue him in various other states and countries? Heck, maybe you could get him sentenced to death in Iran or even better a nice flogging somewhere.

  12. batfastad

    Crowd fund

    I'd chuck this Costello chap a fiver to counter-sue that :Pile of Poo:

  13. Anonymous C0ward
    Facepalm

    'Murica.

    (letters)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 'Murica.

      Yes, dammit.

  14. Robert Moore

    I am not by nature a violent man. But if someone had cost me $12000 over BS like this, I would be going to visit them.

    Then I would trip and fall on their front stairs. In front of at least a dozen excellent witnesses.

    My lawsuit would be for millions, many, many millions.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Then I would trip and fall on their front stairs. In front of at least a dozen excellent witnesses."

      Oh God. I saw everything! He almost died!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Unfortunately the jerk in question likely doesn't have any assets from which to extract damages. His lawyers are probably all working on contingency. On the one hand, working on contingency allows poor people to sue for legitimate damages they'd otherwise be unable to seek justice for. On the other, it allows bull-$%#% like this.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          So sue the lawyers.

        2. Donn Bly

          The "Jerk" (I would have used stronger language) doesn't have any lawyers, he represents himself.

          Being from and in Indiana, I took a special interest in this case.

          First, this "Jerk" isn't even from Indiana - He is Ukrainian here on "political asylum". Having gamed that system, he now tries to game all others.

          Indiana, like most courts, has a policy in civil courts of "default summary judgement". Basically, if you get sued, and don't bother to even respond to the suit or show up when the hearing is held, then you are going to lose the case. To respond all you have to do is send the court a letter saying that you deny the claims.

          It isn't that he "admitted" anything - that is just bad reporting, something that has been repeated elsewhere in many articles about this case. It is more factually described as a default "Nolo Contendere" / "No Contest" plea.

          As such, the judge who granted summary judgement wasn't necessarily wrong,but the judge who didn't immediately overturn it on appeal was. After all, The "Jerk" couldn't even provide evidence of notice, which is a REQUIREMENT. It should have been tossed. Judges are human. They screw up. This one screwed up big time. At least the appeals court, after having actually LOOKED at the evidence, tossed it.

          And yes, the seller COULD go after the Jerk and get damages, but that would have to be a separate suit - and he has already stated that he wants nothing to do with any more lawsuits.

          Personally, I think we should find out what the Jerk was running from in the Ukraine. If it was legitimate political asylum I don't think that he would be advertising his location in the international press. Perhaps it is time to send him back.

          1. jamesb2147
            Pint

            Thank you for a thoughtful contribution

            ...and not just spewing forth your emotional reaction to a sensational story.

            Anyway, I'm fairly confident he'll get his one day.

            I'm surprised that the local court didn't immediately toss this, just as you are. In my locality (not in Indiana, to be fair), the local court websites are extraordinarily clear that you need to have made some attempt to settle the dispute before court and have sent court documentation through registered mail to their last known address. That's just for small claims court! Evidence of delivery of that documentation is the first thing a judge asks for when beginning proceedings.

          2. Alan W. Rateliff, II

            Indeed. Make it known in Ukraine where he is, and here come Boris and Natasha to disappear his parasitic ass.

            Again, assuming his asylum is legitimate.

            Discussion with a number of people about this turns up concerns about the way summary judgement works in cases like this. On the one hand it is meant to help those who would otherwise be powerless, but on the other hand it is easy to abuse. Like many things, there is an assumption of good faith that the system will not be used in manners not intended.

          3. Chris Fox

            Admitted admissions

            "It isn't that he "admitted" anything - that is just bad reporting, something that has been repeated elsewhere in many articles about this case. It is more factually described as a default "Nolo Contendere" / "No Contest" plea."

            It might be a little misleading to refer to this as bad reporting, given that the terms "admitted" and "admission" are used by the Indiana court itself in such cases. For example, in the court of appeals' judgement that threw out the case in question, "admitted" appears five times and "admission" fourteen times with regard to the interpretation of Costello's failure to respond, as in:

            "When Costello learned that his failure to respond rendered the matters admitted under Rule 36(A), he hired an attorney and moved to withdraw the admissions under subsection (B) of the rule."

            For once it is not simply sloppy reporting: the language of the court really is as bizarre as it seems.

          4. Nigel 11

            Perhaps it is time to send him back.

            And you lucky folks in the USA would be able to do that. Whereas here in the UK we can't send even murderers back, not even to the nice safe EU country that they were born in.

            What about the victims' human rights, I ask?

          5. Pedigree-Pete Bronze badge
            Mushroom

            Ukranian

            ...perhaps its time to tip off some of his former friends. They have a way of getting justice.

        3. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. kain preacher Silver badge

      Your honor I saw Robert walk up those hazard stairs. The owner of the property should of been well aware of those dangerous stairs.

      Want to bet he is a renter. So no suing him for the stairs. But if he has a car claim he hit you.

    3. BongoJoe Silver badge

      Then I would trip and fall on their front stairs. In front of at least a dozen excellent witnesses.

      I was there.

      I saw you fall down those stairs dozens of times. At least.

      1. Swarthy Silver badge

        I saw the Jerk greasing the stairs before-hand. With malice and forethought!

  15. wolfetone Silver badge

    New Rule

    Anyone that can be that much of a dickhead to bring that sort of thing to court should be shipped straight over to North Korea with a sign saying "Kidnap me, the Americans really love me but I think North Korea is really sucky"

  16. Maty

    Don't give up on Indiana

    The judges in the appeal ruling were pretty clear

    'Before conducting any further proceedings, the trial court shall hold a hearing for purposes of determining whether this case should be dismissed pursuant to Trial Rule 41(E), based on Zavodnik’s repeated, flagrant, and continuing failure to comply with Indiana’s rules of procedure. '

    That looks to me like the green light to counter-sue or at least get the case dismissed - with costs.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't give up on Indiana

      Sure, but I doubt Zavodnik has $12k in assets to be seized by a countersuit.

      1. Privatelyjeff

        Re: Don't give up on Indiana

        Some states allow you to claim unpaid judgements on your taxes, so you get your money and the other guy gets all his money taken by the state.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Don't give up on Indiana

          "Some states allow you to claim unpaid judgements on your taxes, so you get your money and the other guy gets all his money taken by the state."

          There is a high likelihood he actually gets money from the government in ways which cannot be recovered. Brilliant welfare system we have here.

  17. John Lilburne Silver badge

    Pony up $500 and have him buried.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Pony up $500 and have him buried."

      Are you kidding? Do you have any idea what funeral expenses are...

      Oh. $500, really? Cause if you're offering, I've got a list....

      1. kain preacher Silver badge

        Last I look it cost a minim of $3k to bury some one. Give me $500 and I'll tire a cinder block around him.

      2. Unclezip

        Indiana has lots of remote swamps.

        1. wolfetone Silver badge

          Concrete boots and space in a lake cost $500?!?!?

      3. Velv Silver badge
        Coat

        Ironically, isn't this the very type of "Service" that made CraigsList infamous???

        1. cray74 Silver badge

          Ironically, isn't this the very type of "Service" that made CraigsList infamous???

          I thought Craigslist was made famous by advertisements from the young ladies who were willing to be your friend for an hour and $100 - $200 (understanding anything more than time and companionship is between two consenting adults).

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Do you have any idea what funeral expenses are...

        I doubt Fred West had any idea, but then he did have a patio...

    2. admiraljkb

      "Pony up $500 and have him buried."

      @John - That's in Illinois (Chicago area to be more precise), but it is next to Indiana...

  18. llaryllama

    It's worth looking up this chap's name to see what he's been up to. I'm pretty sure he has some kind of mental illness and genuinely believes that he's a crusader for justice.

    The problem with this case is that the US legal system doesn't have any allowance to recognize that some people are just grade A nut jobs.

    It sounds like he's been allowed to get away with a lot of stuff just because judges are busy and can't be bothered dealing with him, so they allow the hot potato to get passed around until someone occasionally grants a judgement in his favor on technicalities.

    1. cray74 Silver badge

      The problem with this case is that the US legal system doesn't have any allowance to recognize that some people are just grade A nut jobs.

      Understanding that English isn't his first language, the plaintiff still had a way with words indicative of being in a very weird place like some "sovereign citizen" adherents. Per page 7, paragraph 11 of the ruling:

      Zavodnik came prepared with a new 53-page motion to disqualify the judge. In the motion, which began with a seven-line, 65-word title, Zavodnik characterized the Supreme Court’s opinion as follows: “Zavodnik-character assassinating-September 30th, 2014-biased-and-prejudiced-based-on-falsified-and-fabricated-capricious opinion issued by the Indiana Supreme Court, who will be held responsible for the said lies, the very same Supreme Court, which had no jurisdiction to issue that opinion[.]”

      I don't know the correct term for the condition that results in obsession with grandiose legalese, odd grammar, and inappropriate CAPITALIZATION, but it seems to have repeatable, detectable characteristics. If you scroll down to the indented ruling by the US District Court for the Western District of Washington, you can see the characteristics summarized for another group of vexatious litigants. (And the conclusion is amusing: "The Court therefore feels some measure of responsibility to inform Defendant that all the fancy legal-sounding things he has read on the internet are make-believe...")

    2. admiraljkb

      just Indiana and other states like it.

      "The problem with this case is that the US legal system doesn't have any allowance to recognize that some people are just grade A nut jobs."

      Correction - Indiana legal system. Several US States DO have measures to prevent this and punish the plaintiff severely for bringing such a frivolous lawsuit.

      Common misconception that its all the "US", but in truth the United States is still 50 independent States under a Federal style government. So there are 50 independent sets of legal systems (not including the various American Indian Nations and other Federal Protectorates like Guam and Puerto Rico), then the Federal Legal System on top of all of that when dealing with interstate legal disputes, legal issues crossing State borders, or things that affect multiple States in general. Most States' legal systems are based on English Common law, but some like Texas are based on Spanish Common Law, so there isn't one heterogeneous set of laws spanning the country per se.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I hear...

    That Lake Michigan is nice to swim in this time of year. Of course I don't think that one could swim to shore where I would like to drop off this guy, but...

    A friend of mine got sued by a similar guy. He was a lawyer (figures), in the end it would have cost him more in lawyer fees than settling with him for some amount, so he paid him off. Some are like that. Of course you could have an extreme case...

    In my case, I had loaned a friend of mine a LARGE sum of money. His estate had little left and there are lots of people arguing about it. I just want the estate to acknowledge the debt so I can write off the whole thing, unfortunately at $3000/year of normal income, or a whole bunch in capital gains (if I sell something). (*SIGH*)

  20. Unclezip

    A chunk of high-velocity lead is a half-dollar. Just sayin'.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's the reason the USA has lost its MOJO

    The place is just a feeding ground for Lawyers.

    No one will do anything for fear of being sued.

    For example,

    See someone collapse in the street and you administer CPR.

    The person survives and then sues YOU for everything you have for practicing medicine without a license.

    Nuff said?

    Anon because I'm in the country at the moment and don't want to get sued for my opinion even though it is supposed to be protected by the 1st Ammendment.

  22. SpammFreeEmail

    While I can understand our US cousins get annoyed at the British 'superiority' regarding this kind of stuff, I'm sorry but there's too much of it Stateside to ignore.

    This guy is small fry.....back in 2006 a JUDGE (not a joke....a fracking judge) sued his Dry Cleaners for a pair of lost trousers....the amount he was seeking in damages was $67 Million (again that's not a mistake).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pearson_v._Chung

    Now if judges are going to try to game the system of course some peasant is.

    The fundamental difference in US and UK legal systems in this regard is that costs in the UK can be awarded to the winning party...so if you issue frivolous lawsuits in the UK and keep losing you'll have to pay my legal bills as well.....whereas in the States each party is responsible for their own costs.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The UK has its faults but our legal system is actually pretty good TBH in comparison to other jurisdictions around the World.

      1. Nigel 11

        our legal system is actually pretty good TBH in comparison to other jurisdictions around the World.

        Indeed. In fact, it is one of the UK's major "invisible" exports. Say a Panamanian tanker owner contracts with an Iranian oil company. Under what law is the contract going to be written and arbitrated?

        Panamanian or Iranian? No, the other party has zero trust in that legal system.

        Often it is British law, and the fine points of commercial contracts worth many millions get arbitrated here. When an adverse verdict can cost hundreds of millions, paying a good few million for the lawyers and the court is money well spent. And I've heard it said, that the losers are not always sore, having had their day in court and realising that they lost fair and square on points, and not because the judge was bribed. Although far more often, a negotiated settlement is arrived at under the principles of British law, before any all-or-nothing judgement.

        There are only a few other countries whose judiciary is regarded as equally uncorruptible. (This is the best argument for highly-paid judges that I can think of!)

        1. SpammFreeEmail

          While I agree with the sentiment your example may not be for the reasons you think.

          A substantial amount of International Ocean Freight still gets insured through Lloyds of London and it's a stipulation in pretty much all of these insurance contracts that any litigation happens in the UK (I accept for the reasons you laid out).

          What's perhaps far more interesting is that the UK is becoming a court of choice for many libel actions involving the rich and powerful (AKA The Diminati).

    2. admiraljkb

      "The fundamental difference in US and UK legal systems in this regard is that costs in the UK can be awarded to the winning party...so if you issue frivolous lawsuits in the UK and keep losing you'll have to pay my legal bills as well.....whereas in the States each party is responsible for their own costs"

      In Texas and several other States, same thing in order to keep frivolous lawsuits down. Its just Indiana that hasn't caught up with the times.

    3. kain preacher Silver badge

      Uh nope. I don't know were people get that from. In the US if you sue me and I win I can sue you for legal cost. Also if I file a law suit against against the state claiming that a law is unconditional and I win, the state automatically owes me my legal fee.

      1. SpammFreeEmail

        You have to sue for the legal costs......in the UK you don't have to bring a separate lawsuit.

      2. David Nash Silver badge

        "I can sue you for legal cost"

        I know very little about it but possibly that's the difference...you shouldn't have to *sue* for legal cost, it should automatically be part of the judgement.

  23. raving angry loony

    Travesty

    That this travesty is allowed to continue, and that a judge actually fucking AGREED with it at one point, is to me a sign that the American legal system is quite irredeemably broken.

  24. TheSkunkyMonk

    i used to work as a tech in a shop in my youth, we had a cock up on a receipt and the counter guy had put Mhz down after the amd 1800, its didn't run at 1800mhz, and at the time that was the fastest chip, i had to handle the call and well i told him where togo after he didnt accept the explanation(why i was never allowed in the shop front) and he later managed to come in the store and get my boss, i was shocked he just gave the guy a full refund on his system and let him keep it he even got software covered on his warranty he was in nearly every week with some idiotic issue and would always ask for me, sure he just liked getting under my skin. needless to say after reading this i now know why he just gave him his money back and kissed his arse.

    1. jockmcthingiemibobb

      It's just as stupid in New Zealand. If you get an arsehole threatening disputes tribunal it's just cheaper to pay them to fuck off.

      1. Vic

        If you get an arsehole threatening disputes tribunal it's just cheaper to pay them to fuck off.

        It might be cheaper, but that;'s not always the right choice.

        A few years ago, a mate of mine got taken to the Small Claims Court by osme complete numpty who even made the statement on his filing that it would be cheaper to pay up and not fight. My friend, being an arsey bugger at times, was having precisely none of that.

        The case went to court - I went along as a "witness", although in truth I had basically prepared the defence. Numpty-boy pissed off the judge so much, he dismissed the case, refused leave to appeal, and then turned to us to ask us if we wanted to claim expenses[1] :-)

        Vic.

        [1] Expenses aren't much - we were allowed to claim £50 each per day, which was awarded. It was never paid - too much hassle to follow it up, frankly. But I did enjoy this guy getting his come-uppance...

  25. jzl

    Contempt of Court

    Is there an equivalent offence in the US? If so, that seems appropriate.

    1. Hugh McIntyre

      Re: Contempt of Court

      Yes, the equivalent offence is also called "Contempt of Court". However, that means the same thing as in the UK, i.e. "not doing what a court orders you to do". That's not this case, where it's just a vexatious plaintiff.

      At least this case is not as bad as the following one from the NY Times last year: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/23/business/dealbook/sued-over-old-debt-and-blocked-from-suing-back.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share&_r=1

      Debt collectors wrongly sued someone and got default judgement, then prevented him suing back to recover the money because of a forced-arbitration agreement in the small print. Yuck!

  26. lglethal Silver badge
    FAIL

    Shouldnt the American Bar Association be delisting this douchebag?

    He's been described as a serial time waster by a judge. Bringing the profession into disrepute is usually still a grounds for delisting in most legal bar associations. Delist him and watch people's opinion of the profession rise very briefly...

    1. Ralph B

      Re: Shouldnt the American Bar Association be delisting this douchebag?

      He represents himself. He's not a lawyer, so he can't be debarred.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Shouldnt the American Bar Association be delisting this douchebag?

        "He's not a lawyer, so he can't be debarred."

        He could (and should) be declared a vexatious litigant.

        This prevents even _uttering_ legal threats without prior clearance from the court.

        1. Ralph B

          Re: Shouldnt the American Bar Association be delisting this douchebag?

          > He could (and should) be declared a vexatious litigant.

          I agree that he should be, but since he operates out of Indiana, which unlike California, Florida, Hawaii, Ohio, and Texas doesn't have a law against vexatious litigation, he is unlikely to be.

    2. cray74 Silver badge

      Re: Shouldnt the American Bar Association be delisting this douchebag?

      He's been described as a serial time waster by a judge.

      More than one judge:

      "As [the Indiana] Supreme Court has recognized, Zavodnik is a “prolific, abusive litigant.” Zavodnik v. Harper, 17 N.E.3d 259, 261 (Ind. 2012)." Page 3, paragraph 2 of the recent ruling.

      That's actually the opening line of the "Facts and Procedural History" of the ruling.

    3. admiraljkb

      Re: Shouldnt the American Bar Association be delisting this douchebag?

      The Indiana Bar Association would be responsible if he was a lawyer licensed in Indiana, and he's not a lawyer, nor is he licensed in Indiana.

  27. M7S

    Its just a shame

    that lots of reasonable decent people have to live their lives in fear of a legal system such as this, the very system that is meant to be there to give some certainty and protection to them. Whilst the US is a much more mobile society than many others, probably most of them either don't have the option to relocate or have reasons to stay within this jurisdiction.

    Its not really an internet problem, just bad law that flies in the face of the "for the people" bit of the Gettysburg address, and as such one would hope that decent legislators would strike it out, however what I read from US commentators here indicates that they're about as hopeful of this happening as we in the UK are about Scotland winning Euro2016

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Its just a shame

      The Jocks are still hopeful of that

  28. Ptol

    not responding, means you lose

    Its the same in the UK, if someone sues you in the small claims court, and you do not respond, then the case will go ahead in your absence and the court will rule against you.

    However, there is the option when you do eventually find out about the claim, to ask for the earlier judgement to be set aside - but that costs money.

  29. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    WTAF did I just read?

  30. Gis Bun

    USA. Land of the lawsuits.

    Probably get sued for $100,000 just for walking on your neighbours grass.

  31. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge
    Trollface

    setup line

    How many El Reg commentards does it take to say "Paid off in 2006"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: setup line

      To be fair it only took one 'Merkin to set it all off.

      I always find it hilarious that when these arguments invariably crop up in a forum, how the people comparing their country's d**k sizes were never born when these wars occurred.

      Childish.

  32. BigBen1966

    "caveat auditor" ...

  33. PrivateCitizen

    Broken laws

    Costello claims he didn't get the requests, but under Indiana law, as he didn't respond to the request within 30 days or attend a hearing on the matter, then the legal rule is that he admitted the liabilities and damages by default.

    So, hang on. It is possible for a serial litigant to say he sent a request and then 30 days later the victim has legally admitted liabilities?

    Do they understand the concept of proof of postage?

    1. cray74 Silver badge

      Re: Broken laws

      Do they understand the concept of proof of postage?

      Some US courts do. A family member had a bit of a tussle with the IRS over the ability to act as a tax accountant. The IRS's position in federal court was that it had mailed a warning months earlier and thus the accountant needed a 5 years in prison, plus a ludicrous fine.

      The judge observed the IRS agent couldn't demonstrate any proof of postage or receipt of the warning. Accordingly, the judge decided that undermined the IRS's claim that the family member was knowingly, willfully violating the law, and thus the stiffer charges would not apply. There was a felony conviction out of it, but only a few months probation and a modest fine.

  34. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Could I just say that with regard to WWII you have to be in it to win it.

    I seriously doubt any of the loudmouthed posturing done in these hallowed halls is being done by anyone who saw active service in WWII. I'll go further and state that the number who were alive during rationing who post here is likely to be measured in integers safely storable on a commodore pet.

    So. Belt up the lorrayer as My grandmother used to say before the bad health brought about by a poor diet due mostly to wartime food shortages killed her. My Graddad had gone earlier, having survived the trenches of WWI and a landing at Anzio.

    1. BongoJoe Silver badge

      Re: Bah!

      I'll go further and state that the number who were alive during rationing who post here is likely to be measured in integers safely storable on a commodore pet.

      Rationing was abolished in '54.

      There are a good number of grey beards on here but I would say that there are good number of us oldies who may even be in their sixties...

      1. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: Bah!

        So you contend that the number of people over the age of 62 who start and continue slanging matches over World War II in the comment pages of El Reg is higher than 255?

        Proof or tell it to the marines.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Was it ....

    ..an HP printer?

  36. Grunchy

    Holy Cow!

    This guy needs to set up a legal defense fund, I'd donate to it.

    And for the record, I'll donate to anybody who challenges Scientology too. I'll stump up $100.

    The legal defense fund has to be "anonymous" because I want to make sure they don't start chasing me also.

    Get it? Anonymous.

    1. SpammFreeEmail

      If you want some fun about screwballtology track down a TV show called The Path.

      Good fun can be had by all.

  37. Joerg

    Judges and lawyers on heavy drugs are the real criminals here!

    The corrupted justice system made of mad judges and lawyers with brains fried by drugs use/abuse. Some really heavy drugs indeed.

    All these judges and lawyers should be killed as traitors and replaced with some better people. This is a corrupted dangerous justice system that is just killing all of us. The world is getting worse thanks to these criminals. And the real criminals love them so much because these bad people are helping terrorists and criminals of all sorts 24/7 and that can't keep going on forever, either these get terminated or the world ends due to them.

    1. Havin_it

      Re: Judges and lawyers on heavy drugs are the real criminals here!

      Do you have a newsletter?

  38. TeeCee Gold badge
    Mushroom

    Why the lawyers?

    Surely it's cheaper to hire some no-questions-asked type to blow the useless, parasitic little shit's brains out?

    I always think that if more people actually did this, these problems just wouldn't exist. At all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why the lawyers?

      Better, safer to SWAT the guy. With luck the police will shoot the bastard (or police will shoot the bastard after being sued by him).

  39. Gazman

    Perfect example of Merton's Law

    I.e. the law of unintended consequences.

    Stuff like the 'default admissions in evidence' under Rule 36 was originally introduced to speed cases up and cut costs for parties. But once a litigation troll gets hold ...

  40. Marty McFly
    Mushroom

    Gersh Zavodnik...

    ....is an Alpha Hotel.

    (And in case he is reading this, it means Aggressive & Hostile. Any misinterpretation is on his part.)

  41. Mr. A. N. Onymous

    Everyone repeat after me: "what an asshole"

  42. RoboticRabbit

    Some people need to be locked up in tiny little padded rooms and fed lots of happy drugs all day. Our serial litigationist here is the prime example.

  43. Ebec

    are they all mental or something , i can't even see how this could go to court without the said printer to start with

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