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Judges uphold refund to pilot unhappy with plane rental’s service

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A man who prepaid into an account to be used when he rented planes to fly is entitled to a refund of $1,755.88 from a company offering flight instruction and rentals, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. The judges rejected the company’s claims that the small claims court erred by ruling in the pilot’s favor.

Anthony Trojnar rented planes over the course of several years from Eagle Aircraft. As part of an arrangement with Eagle Aircraft, he would deposit $1,250 into his account at a time, which would give him a $100 credit from the company, so he wouldn’t have to pay every time he came in to rent a plane. Dissatisfied that Eagle Aircraft would frequently tell him at the last minute that the plane he had booked was unavailable, Trojnar sought to close his account and for the $1,855.88 in it to be returned.

He filed a small claims action in Porter Superior Court, in which Eagle Aircraft presented a document, “Course Refund Policy” signed by Trojnar, that said prepaid flight accounts are nonrefundable except under extenuating circumstances. Trojnar agreed the contract applied to him and admitted that he was not entitled to a $100 credit in his account, but the rest of the money was his. Eagle Aircraft claimed that Trojnar had $1,500 worth of credits in his account and was only entitled $355.88.

The small claims court ruled in favor of Trojnar, awarding him the $1,755.88.

Eagle Aircraft appealed on three grounds: whether the court, in taking Eagle Aircraft’s Ind. Trial Rule 41(B) motion under advisement and subsequently adjourning the hearing, denied it an opportunity to introduce evidence; whether the court abused its discretion or erred in finding, as amended by its order on Eagle Aircraft’s motion to correct errors, in Trojnar’s favor; and whether Trojnar was unjustly enriched by the court’s order.

Citing Redmond v. United Airlines, Inc., 165 Ind. App. 395, 332 N.E.2d 804 (1975), among other cases, the appellate court ruled, “Under the circumstances, in which the trial court in a small claims matter invited the defendant to present evidence following the defendant’s Ind. Trial Rule 41(B) motion, we conclude that the court did not deny Eagle Aircraft the opportunity to present evidence when it took its Trial Rule 41(B) motion under advisement.”

The court did not err in finding in Trojnar’s favor nor was he unjustly enriched, the judges held in Eagle Aircraft, Inc. v. Anthony Trojnar,
64A04-1207-SC-386.

“It was only through the presentation of evidence at the small claims trial and motion to correct errors hearing that established Defendant’s Exhibit A governed the relationship between the parties. Recognizing that the trial court was in the best position to weigh the evidence and that small claims actions are informal and have the goal of dispensing speedy justice, we cannot say that the court’s ruling that Trojnar demonstrated extenuating circumstances was clearly erroneous, and we conclude that the court did not err in ruling in Trojnar’s favor,” Judge Elaine Brown wrote.

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  1. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  2. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  3. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  4. I totally agree with John Smith.

  5. An idea that would harm the public good which is protected by licensing. Might as well abolish doctor and health care professions licensing too. Ridiculous. Unrealistic. Would open the floodgates of mischief and abuse. Even veteranarians are licensed. How has deregulation served the public good in banking, for example? Enough ideology already!

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