Sunday, May 14, 2017

Some Assembly Required

"Umm, I think we're missing a piece."
Airi v. Nagra, 2017 VT 42

By Andrew Delaney

The lesson from this appeal is that if you appeal a trial court judgment and don’t order transcripts, you’re gonna have a bad time.

Mr. Nagra appeals from the trial court’s judgment in favor of Mr. Airi. Briefly, Mr. Airi agreed to do some hotel-management work for either Mr. Nagra or for Mr. Nagra’s companies. There were FBI raids and restructuring, a receivership, and some other twists and turns along the way. During that time, there were two periods during which Mr. Airi contracted to do stuff with the receivership, complete certain hotel management tasks, and to complete hotel financing projects—stuff Mr. Nagra couldn’t do because of pending criminal charges and other legal issues.

Mr. Airi never got paid. So he sued Mr. Nagra. Mr. Nagra didn’t show up for the court trial. The court took evidence and entered judgment against Mr. Nagra for just shy of thirty grand for the work Mr. Airi did.

And that brings us to the SCOV.

Mr. Nagra argues that the contracts with Mr. Airi were really with the companies that Mr. Nagra is involved with and not him individually. He also tells the SCOV that they don’t need no transcripts.

The SCOV feels differently about the not-needing-transcripts issue. Because there are no transcripts, the SCOV is not going to guess what evidence the trial court did or didn’t have. Without the transcripts, the SCOV is going to assume that the trial court had some support for the decisions it made.

So the SCOV affirms and Mr. Nagra is on the hook for Mr. Airi’s wages.

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