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Monday, June 06, 2016

Ind. Decisions - "He sold a $40 printer. Then he was sued in Indiana for $30,000"

That is the headline to this must-read story in today's Indianapolis Star, reported by Kristine Guerra, about the Court of Appeals' May 23rd opinion in Douglas Costello and Profit Search, Inc. v. Gersh Zavodnik (ILB case summary here).

As it is "must-read" the ILB will simply add some additional info. About half-way through the story is this:

In 2010, Zavodnik sent Costello, who also was representing himself in the lawsuit, paperwork asking him to admit that he was liable for more than $30,000 for breach of contract, fraud and conversion. The trial court dismissed the case, along with 26 others filed by Zavodnik, who appealed all of those dismissals, court records state.

The Indiana Court of Appeals in March 2012 revived the lawsuit against Costello and sent the case back to the trial court, where it remained stagnant for another nine months until a hearing was scheduled later that year.

The ILB looked for the 2012 COA opinion. It was a March 1, 2012 NFP decision, Gersh Zavodnik v. Katrin Gehrt and Imperator Bulldogs Kennel, et al., with a caption 9-pages long. Last month's COA opinion describes what happened with the current case in 2012:
This is the second time this particular case has been before us. The first time, it had been dismissed, along with twenty-six other cases Zavodnik had filed, pursuant to Indiana Trial Rule 41(E), which provides for dismissal when a plaintiff fails to diligently prosecute the case or comply with court rules. Zavodnik v. Gehrt, No. 49A02–1105–CT–393, slip op. at 10-11 (Ind. Ct. App. Mar. 1, 2012) (memorandum decision). We affirmed the dismissal of most of the cases but reversed the dismissal of this case because there was no indication in the record that the trial court had held the formal hearing required by Rule 41(E). Id. at 21-22.
Last month's COA opinion (also a "must-read") points to a Sept. 30, 2014 Supreme Court opinion, a denial of transfer in a case titled Gersh Zavodnik v. Irene Harper (ILB summary here), where the Supreme Court set out for the lower courts detailed"guidance on options available to sanction and otherwise restrict the abusive and burdensome litigation tactics practiced by Mr. Zavodnik and a small number of other litigants in this state."

A story the next day in the Indianapolis Star, by Tim Evans, summarized here in the ILB, gave background on the "frequent filer" who is the plaintiff in the lawsuit.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 6, 2016 08:18 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions | Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions | Indiana Courts