Massachusetts Man Sells $40 Printer On Craigslist And Gets Sued For $30,000

Craigslist is where people go to find some items or services they may need, and hopefully, they can be acquired for little money. A Massachusetts man thought he would try to get some extra cash by selling an old printer on Craigslist for $40 since he didn’t need it anymore. Doug Costello had no idea that doing such a thing would end up with him being sued for $30,000.

Costello is a 66-year-old man from Massachusetts who sold an old black-and-white printer in 2009. He put it up for sale on Craigslist for $40 and sold it to 54-year-old Gersh Zavodnik from Indianapolis. With the cost of shipping and everything, the total came out to be less than $75.

USA Today is reporting that this simple transaction has brought about a 6.5-year legal battle that has cost thousands of dollars in lawyer fees and now has Costello being sued for close to $30,000.

Zavodnik is saying that the printer he received from Costello was broken and didn’t work at all. He claims that it was a malfunctioning printer with missing parts that was falsely advertised by Costello on Craigslist.

He also claims that he tried to resolve this issue with Costello out of court, but it didn’t end up working, so legal action needed to be taken. The Daily Mail reports that Zavodnik had initially filed a lawsuit in Marion County Small Claims Court seeking maximum damages of $6,000, but he lost due to having thrown away the printer.

When Costello thought that would end things, Zavodnik filed yet another lawsuit but this time in Marion Superior Court. This led to claims that he needed money for fraud, breach of contract, conversion, emotional distress, and deceptive advertising.

 massachusetts man printer sold craigslist sued thousands [Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]
When the first lawsuit was thrown out, Costello thought he was finally done with this whole ordeal, but said things only got worse, and he feels like he is in “another twilight zone.”

At one point, Zavodnik even sent requests for admissions to Costello in attempts of trying to get the printer seller to reveal some interesting information. Zavodnik wanted Costello to admit several misdeeds.

  • He conspired with the judge presiding over the case, and that it made him liable for more than $300,000.
  • He was actually responsible for more than $600,000 in total damages.

These requests actually led to even more trouble for Costello.

Since he did not respond to any of those requests for admissions from Zavodnik within 30 days, he essentially admitted to them. He did not request extensions of time and didn’t respond to the admissions, so by default, he actually admitted to the liabilities and damages laid forth.

After four years, Costello said he finally hired an attorney due to being completely overwhelmed by the whole case. That was in 2013, and the case sat in limbo for a long time which led Zavodnik to try to have the judge removed from the case.

In March of 2015, Special Judge J. Jeffrey Edens finally issued a ruling over the six-year-old case, and it wasn’t good for the former owner of the printer. Doug Costello was ordered to pay $30,044.07 to Gersh Zavodnik over breach of contract.

Zavodnik has been seen as a “frequent lawsuit filer” and many times will represent himself in his court cases. The Indiana Supreme Court even called Zavodnik a “prolific, abusive litigant” who has brought dozens of lawsuits against many people and businesses looking for extremely high amounts in damages.

On March 23, an appeal was filed on the behalf of Costello, and Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik even said that the $30,000 in damages brought by Zavodnik “had no basis in reality.”

While Doug Costello has no desire to ever sell anything online again, the case is not yet over. Gersh Zavodnik will likely ask for a re-hearing, and the appeals court has asked for the case to be totally thrown out due to Zavodnik’s repeated failure to comply with “Indiana’s rules of procedure.”

Doug Costello insists he wasn’t trying to scam anyone, and all he wanted to do was get on Craigslist and sell off an old black-and-white printer that he wasn’t using anymore. When Gersh Zavodnik purchased the printer, Costello had no idea that it would bring about so much trouble and cost him so much money, but it will end up making him think twice about selling items online in the future.

[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]