Michigan Man Pays $335 Court Fee in Pennies

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A Michigan man awarded $335 in a small claims court ruling last month was paid in pennies in what the man he sued said was a gesture of contempt.

Bob Wilson was given the pennies by Karl Stepen, owner of NSK Motorsports in Fowlerville, after a judge ruled in Wilson's favor and awarded him $335. Wilson had said he bought an old off-road motorcycle for his 13-year-old son and took it to NSK in May to get it running. He did not get the bike back until October and, he said, it broke down almost immediately.

Stepen said he had the bike "for some time," but his is a one-man operation with as many as 70 motorcycles waiting to be repaired. He said he did everything he could to help Wilson with the 30-year-old bike and offered to fix a second problem for free.

Stepen said he paid Wilson in pennies to show his contempt for the man. "We paid him in legal U.S. currency," Stepen said.

District Judge Theresa Brennan, who handled the appeal for Wilson's claim, said she has never heard of someone paying the court in pennies in her 22 years of practicing law.

Still, she said, it is legal: "We don't dictate the form of payment."

Wilson said he will donate the 33,500 pennies to the Oakland Livingston Human Service Agency, which has helped him with heating bills.