Contracts Keyed to Knapp
Syester v. Banta
Over a course of six years beginning in 1954, Defendant dance studio managed to sell nearly $30,000 worth of dance instruction to Plaintiff, a widow in her mid to late sixties. Defendant, through a charming young dance instructor, persuaded Plaintiff that she had the potential to become a professional dancer and, despite the fact that Plaintiff made little improvement with her dancing, continued to sell hours to Plaintiff that would eventually go unused. Evidence introduced at trial showed that Defendant, as a method to sell hours of instruction, aggressively and purposefully would lead their clients to believe that they had a future in professional dancing. Plaintiff’s dance instructor was eventually fired in 1960 and shortly thereafter, Plaintiff commenced a suit against Defendant. In effort to get Plaintiff to drop her suit, Defendant re-hired the dance instructor in effort persuaded Plaintiff to drop the law suit against Defendant. After constant attempts to persuade Plain tiff, the dance instructor was eventually successful in getting Plaintiff to drop the suit. Shortly thereafter, Defendant managed to persuade Plaintiff to sign a release of all claims against Defendant, with a promise that Defendant would be entitled to a refund for $6,090, which was the amount Plaintiff paid for her last batch of instructional lessons. Two years later, Plaintiff was persuaded by Defendant to sign another lease, this one relieving Defendant of the obligation to pay Plaintiff $4,000. Plaintiff then brought this action alleging fraud and misrepresentation and requesting a dismissal of the releases. The trial court awarded plaintiff $14,300 in actual damages and $40,000 in punitive damages.
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