LAWTON, Iowa (KCAU) – A Lawton-based company was ordered to pay more than $7 million for breaching an agreement regarding the restoration of three vehicles.
According to a lawsuit filed with the district court for Woodbury County, a jury ruled in favor of a client of The Healey Werks Corp for $7,172,886.42 after the company allegedly breached an agreement regarding the sale of three Healey model cars.
The client, William Oesterle, filed a lawsuit against The Healey Werks Corp, ANCA Properties, and Craig Hillinger.
The documents state that on May 17, 2011, Indiana-based Oesterle, purchased a 1955 Austin Healey Model 100S car for $630,000. The company was said to have agreed to restore the vehicle before delivering it to Oesterle.
On January 29, 2013, Oesterle allegedly paid $50,000 for a 1956 Austin Healey 100M. Documents specified that the vehicle was unassembled when it was purchased, and the company and Oesterle were going to make future arrangements for the restoration of the vehicle.
The documents state that Oesterle later emailed the owner of the company in January 2020 asking about the status of the Healey 100S. While they were communicating, Oesterle learned that they had begun the restoration of the 100M without approval.
On an unspecified date, Oesterle allegedly paid $160,000 for an Austin Healey Silverstone, and again, the company was to restore the vehicle. The documents specified that they agreed that when the vehicle was restored, the company was to pay the $160,000 back, and the profit would be split between Oesterle and the company.
Oesterle allegedly learned in January 2019 that the company sold the Silverstone without getting approval first, therefore breaching their agreement. Additionally, the company allegedly used the funds from the sale of the Silverstone for the restoration of the 100M.
When Oesterle decided that they wanted to obtain the vehicles that they paid for, the company allegedly refused to provide the vehicles unless Oesterle paid restoration costs and other fees.
A judgment was made in favor of Oesterle in November 2022. ANCA Properties and Craig Hillinger had filed for bankruptcy before the trial, but The Healey Works Corp had not, so the trial proceeded against them.
The documents state that The Healey Works Corp “willfully and maliciously” breached their agreement with Oesterle and therefore committed consumer fraud under the Violation of the Motor Vehicle Services Trade Practices Act.
Oesterle allegedly suffered damages in the amount of $2,390,962.14. The documents stated that the company’s “willful and wanton disregard” for the client’s rights and violated the Motor Vehicle Services Trade Practices Act resulted in Oesterle being entitled to triple the amount of actual damage costs. In addition to $7.2 million, the company was also ordered to pay Oesterle’s lawyer costs.
“I want others in the classic car community to be aware of this situation,” said Oesterle. “It’s a difficult process to find authentic parts and materials, and to find credible people with the expertise to properly restore these beautiful machines. Often that means you have to trust people across the country, or even the world, to deliver on what they say they have and what they can do. I would hate to know other collectors have been treated this way.”