"Prolific litigant" bought $40 used printer then sued seller for $30,000


#1

[Read the post]


#2

I think we just found Trumps pick for VP…


#3

I was going to make a sarky comment, but I fear legal reprisals.


#4

I know it’s important to be able to sue for relief, but there needs to be greater pursuit and punishment of people who abuse litigation like this, or else some way for defendants to avail themselves of guaranteed cheap legal representation. The fact that the cost of a lawyer often exceeds the cost of settling a frivolous lawsuit seems like a failure by the system to provide equal protection under the law. And the idea that a defendant not responding means default judgment and award for whatever the litigant wants is ridiculous on its face. Only a lawyer would look at a $40 printer purchase and think $30,000 was a reasonable sum for a breach of contract relating to its purchase.


#5

Filed under “why we can’t have nice things”.


#6

What Zavodnik and Clements are doing is hacking the US judicial system. It’s old, complex and very profitable if you can hack it correctly. They’re the personal claims equivalent of patent trolls.


#7

Yup. At least 25 years ago I watched a show - I think it was 20/20 - on one lawyer who had sued virtually every business in town and everyone on her street.


#8

Or as other countries call it, a “loser pays” system.

The problem in the US is that “prolific, abusive litigants”, representing themselves - have virtually nothing at stake. They get to walk away if they lose. Someone defending themselves can be bankrupted by legal fees even if they “win.”


#9

The problem is drawing the line. This guy is obviously abusing the system, but to hear certain politicians, it’s an abuse any time an individual sues a corporation. “Tort reform” usually means making it nearly impossible to bring suit without an army of corporate lawyers.

I don’t know if there is a simple test for legal abuse. I think it’s decided case by case, and very inconsistently.


#10

“prolific, abusive litigant”

Indeed.


#11

I don’t know about this guy, but if you make a sarky comment about me, I’ll derez you.


#12

It depends. Even that system can be abused.

There’s a young adult book series called the Bartimaeus Trilogy.

In the first book, a young girl and her friend are set upon by a demon sent by a magician. The girl (being resistant to magical attacks) is uninjured, but her friend is severely burned.

The girl tries to sue the magician, but the friend’s parents, knowing how stacked the legal system is against the poor, refuses to let him testify — after all, their livelihood depends on business from wizards.

The magician shows up late, and is charged what, to him, would be a nominal fee for his tardiness. When the girl loses the case (because obviously, she wasn’t harmed, and is clearly lying), she has to pay the man’s court costs, including the fine for showing up late. Being from a poor family, that fee doubles the already nearly-unaffordable cost of paying the magician’s court costs.

I know it’s based on the legal system of England (which has a “loser pays” system), but not how accurately this case is depicted. Still, it serves as an example that “loser pays” is not without its own flaws.


#13

Crikey, that’s a terrifying story. “Kafkaesque” seems appropriate.

Jesse Clements, who said he and Zavodnik are members of a group of pro se litigants whose purpose is to “end Marion County judicial corruption,”

How nice that their crusade is carefully engineered not to affect innocent bystanders.


#14

#15

Who is this guy, Edens, and WTF did he award this jackass with $30k? It’s not as though there is legal merit to discuss, as the appeals judge Vaidik said, so how did it even get this far?


#16

Or, “PAL”, for short!


#17

Sometimes a couple of guys with baseball bats are a more cost-effective legal team…


#18

“Looser pays” can be a problem for average people suing rich corporations with dozens of lawyers. I’m not saying its out of the question, but fixing the judicial system is not as easy as adding a “looser pays” rule to it.


#19

Loser pays is unnecessary to fix this problem. I understand that people are afraid of the judicial system, but this shit needs to be taught in high school: Answer your lawsuits and show up for court. Attorney or not, your chances of getting fucked over are a million times better if you never show up.

This is a big part of why the protagonist in question is having a hard time right now. Don’t get me wrong, to whatever extent I may be blaming the victim, the plaintiff here tests my commitment to avoid unnecessary violence and ignites fantasies about creating an agency of people outside the law who break your legs for being this obnoxious.My point is this: Paralysis is not a course of action when facing legal threats. Read everything, show up for everything. You might still have a hard time, but you’ll be better off. At very least your case will be easier to appeal. Also, get some people to donate to a collective defense fund, hire a lawyer to consult, and circulate this guy’s picture in his neighborhood wherever he lives and on CL and just list the actions he’s brought in court and what they’re for. Even CL would probably be willing to let you sticky a post given sufficient background.


#20

And it’s not new. I recall reading a Sherlock Holmes story where a guy was suing people right and left. (Was that “Hound of the Baskervilles” or a different one?) Probably predates the 19th century.