The Craigslist portal to Hell
Kristine Guerra reports in USA Today:
Selling a used, black-and-white printer through Craigslist seemed simple and straightforward to Doug Costello.
What the 66-year-old Massachusetts man didn’t know then is that he would spend the next 6 ½ years embroiled in a complicated and confusing legal dispute in Indiana over that printer, which, according to its buyer, was broken.
He would find himself liable for about $30,000 in damages. He would pay a lawyer at least $12,000 in his battle to escape the legal mess.
And it all started with a piece of hardware he sold online for about $40 in 2009. With shipping and other costs, the total was less than $75, according to court records.
The printer’s buyer was Gersh Zavodnik, a 54-year-old Indianapolis man known to many in the legal community as a frequent lawsuit filer who also represents himself in court. The Indiana Supreme Court said the “prolific, abusive litigant” has brought dozens of lawsuits against individuals and businesses, often asking for astronomical damages. Most, according to court records, involve online sales and transactions.
Zavodnik, a native of Ukraine who moved to the United States in 1987 under a grant of political asylum, sued Costello, accusing him of falsely advertising a malfunctioning printer with missing parts, and pocketing Zavodnik’s money. According to a complaint filed in Marion Superior Court, Zavodnik tried to resolve the issue with Costello to no avail, leaving him with no other choice but to take legal action.
Zavodnik declined to speak with IndyStar. In an earlier interview, he said his motivation for filing lawsuits is simple: to seek justice from people who, he said, stole money from him.
According to court records, Zavodnik initially filed a lawsuit in Marion County Small Claims Court, where he asked for the maximum damages of $6,000. Zavodnik lost because he had thrown away the evidence (the printer), court records said. . .