The Mercedes Benz Story How a Car Deal Went Terribly Wrong

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold, NJ Breach of Contract Attorney

In this rather bizarre case a plaintiff filed suit against the defendant alleging that the defendant breached a written contract to sell the plaintiff a 2013 Mercedes Benz GL 550.  The plaintiff sought $103,000 in damages – the purchase price of the vehicle. In short, the plaintiff paid $103,000 dollars in cash for the vehicle and he never received it.  He filed a criminal complaint and then he filed a civil action to recover the money he lost in this transaction that went sour.

At trial there were two stories.  The plaintiff said that before he paid the full cash value to the defendant (a man who he had done import car deals countless times over the years) the defendant sent him pictures of the vehicle.  After that, all contact was lost with the defendant.  The vehicle was never delivered.

The defendant testified that he did indeed send the pictures, however the plaintiff never agreed to proceed with the purchase.  The defendant claimed that he never went to the notary’s office to sign the contract or title and he also denied that the plaintiff ever gave him 100,000 dollars in cash. How can this be? He either paid or he didn’t. But then…it was cash!

Both the appellate division and the trial court ruled that the plaintiff was much more credible of a witness. There was an enforceable contract signed by both parties.  The plaintiff performed his part – when he paid $103,000.  The defendant, however, did not perform his part.  As a result, the defendant was ordered to pay $103,000 plus interest according to the stipulations of the contract.

What’s the moral of this story?  Write everything down.  Have a contract drawn up.  When a verbal business deal goes sour a signed contract will give you a much better chance at getting your money back.  These two men were friends for over a decade and had conducted millions of dollars of business together.  After all of this history, one person decided to run off with the other person’s $100,000 in cash.  The plaintiff was sharp and he had a contract reviewed by an attorney who he trusted.  You, too, should do the same whenever you consider engaging in a serious business transaction.

To discuss your NJ Contract matter, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at fniemann@hnlawfirm.com.  Please ask us about our video conferencing consultations if you are unable to come to our office.